Cuba continues to be a source of contention in the U.S. even though tensions between the two countries continues to thaw but Republicans are threatening to shut down the government again over the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
The Senate is debating an annual defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that would allow President Obama to shut down Guantanamo Bay with congressional approval. Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma has filed an amendment that would strip out that provision.
Inhofe’s proposal has split his party. Republican Senators John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska) and Mike Lee (Utah) voted to keep the provision to potentially eliminate Guantanamo Bay in the NDAA. Though a vote hasn’t been scheduled for the amendment, he seemed confident it would reach the floor soon.
When asked if he’d spoken to McCain, who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Inhofe replied: “We talked about the amendments that we had. He’s encouraging people to get their amendments in, and I feel confident just by the way that it’s going that I’ll be able to get both of my amendments up for consideration.”
Inhofe said that even if he isn’t successful, he would take the amendment to committees. Still, his battle would be uphill. The Senate Armed Services committee voted to keep the language that would allow for the closure of Guantanamo Bay with a 22-4 vote.
“The Administration strongly objects to provisions of the bill that would impede efforts to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” the White House said in a statement. “While the bill would relax certain of these restrictions if Congress approves a plan to close the facility by joint resolution, this process for congressional approval is unnecessary and overly restrictive.”