U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers says the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba should stay where they are. Last week the House voted 258-163 against allowing the detainees to be transferred to the United States. In a speech on the House floor, Rogers said, “the American people don't want terrorists in their hometowns.”
The vote was a nonbinding resolution. If it were to become law, the Obama administration would be hard-pressed to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January as President Obama has promised.
You can listen to the Congressman's speech below. It is divided into two parts.
By Andrew Taylor
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House went on record Thursday against
allowing detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be
transferred to the United States, even to face trial or to be
jailed in maximum-security prisons.
The 258-163 vote on a nonbinding recommendation put Democrats
controlling the House in a difficult spot and prompted senior
lawmakers to postpone unveiling a House-Senate agreement on a
homeland security funding bill.
If such a ban were to become law, the Obama administration would
be hard-pressed to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January as
Obama has promised. Last week the administration acknowledged for
the first time that it might not be able to close the facility by
that deadline because of difficulties in reviewing detainee files
and resolving legal and logistical questions.
Eighty-eight Democrats broke with Obama and House leaders on the
nonbinding recommendation, an ominous sign for future votes. It
would be difficult for lawmakers to change their positions without
drawing withering criticism from political adversaries.
The administration has yet to reveal its plan for closing the
prison. Supporters of the transfer ban say an overwhelming number
of their constituents want to keep Guantanamo prisoners where they
"There is no reason these terrorists, who pose a serious and
documented threat to our nation, cannot be brought to justice right
where they are in Cuba," said Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. "I
certainly think that is where the American people stand on this
issue - they don't want these terrorists in their hometowns."
Supporters of closing Guantanamo say the facility and the
lengthy detention of suspects who may have been held indefinitely
without trial have stained the United States' reputation across the
globe. And they said fears of bringing the detainees to the U.S.
"I refuse to believe that our law enforcement officials, our
prison officials and our Justice Department officials are not
skilled enough and thoughtful enough to imprison these thugs in
high-security facilities at minimal or no danger to our citizens
and our communities," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman
David Obey, D-Wis.
Several of the fiscal 2010 funding bills contain varying
restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, reflecting
widespread opposition among voters about bringing enemy combatants
onto U.S. soil. A bill pending on the Senate floor, for example,
contains an outright ban on releasing Guantanamo detainees into the
U.S., including for trial or incarceration.
The vote also put House members on record as backing the Obama
administration's refusal to release new photos showing U.S.
personnel abusing detainees held overseas.
President Barack Obama has already said he would use every
available means to block release of additional detainee abuse
photos because they could whip up anti-American sentiment overseas
and endanger U.S. troops. His powers include issuing an order to
classify the photos, thus blocking their release.
Let me know your thoughts on this issue. I’ll share your comments here on the blog.
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