The House voted today to allow suspected terrorist at Guantanamo Bay to be transferred to U.S. soil to stand trial. The 307-114 vote is a partial victory for President Obama and his effort to close the controversial facility in Cuba.
Only 25 Democrats broke ranks and voted with Republicans opposing the transfer.
Today his remarks on the House floor were blistering. “Keep these detainees off sacred American soil.”
You can watch the Congressman’s entire speech below. It is divided into two parts.
Here are some other articles:
Homeland Security bill clears House
A $42.8 billion Homeland Security budget cleared the House Thursday after Democrats won a showdown vote preserving President Barack Obama’s authority to temporarily transfer Guantanamo prisoners into the United States for the purpose of prosecution.
Republicans had prevailed on the same issue when framed as part of a non-binding resolution two weeks ago. But Democrats have since dug in, their lines stiffened in what became a test of loyalty to the president’s stand on Guantanamo and their own ability to break the impasse over year-end appropriations bills.
House votes to allow Guantanamo Bay prisoners to stand trial in U.S. courts
The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to allow Guantanamo Bay detainees to be brought to the U.S. mainland to face trial.
The measure, which passed by a count of 307-114, is seen as a positive step toward the administration's goal of closing the divisive prison by January.
The provision was part of a Homeland Security appropriations bill that funds the department for next year. The bill awaits passage in the Senate before President Barack Obama can sign it into law.
By ANDREW TAYLOR
Associated Press Writer
(AP) - House Democrats on Thursday repelled a
Republican effort to block transfer of the Guantanamo Bay detainees
to the U.S., handing President Barack Obama a partial victory in
his effort to close the prison.
Instead, by a 224-193 vote, the House stood by a Democratic plan
to allow suspected enemy combatants held at the controversial
facility in Cuba to be shipped to U.S. soil - but only to be
prosecuted for their suspected crimes.
The Guantanamo restrictions were attached by House-Senate
negotiators on a $42.8 billion homeland security appropriations
bill. The measure subsequently passed by a 307-114 vote. It next
goes to the Senate for a final vote that could come as early as
President Barack Obama has ordered the facility closed in
January but has yet to offer a plan to meet his deadline.
Democratic leaders had to push hard to win the vote because many
Democrats two weeks ago had cast a nonbinding but politically safe
vote against any Guantanamo detainee transfers. But several
Democrats from swing districts said they saw little political risk
on Thursday's vote.
"It's a nonissue. Inside the (Washington) Beltway stuff," said
first-term Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y. "People care about jobs, the
economy, health care."
"I haven't had one person ask me about Guantanamo," said Rep.
Baron Hill, D-Ind. He added that he does "not in the least" fear
it as an issue in next year's elections.
Permitting Guantanamo prisoners to be transferred to U.S. soil
to stand trial had been a bipartisan compromise earlier. It mostly
tracks current restrictions put in place in June and is similar to
a version backed by Republicans earlier in the year. In fact, Rep.
Jerry Lewis of California, the ranking minority member of the
Appropriations panel, was among the Republicans who helped fashion
But without a plan from the administration for closing the
facility, Lewis has toughened his talk, calling the
administration's plan misguided and potentially dangerous.
"Terrorists should not be treated like common criminals in
federal court," Lewis said. "These detainees are enemies of the
state and should be treated as such by being held and brought to
justice right where they are - in Guantanamo Bay."
Democrats say that Republicans are simply seeking a political
"They are now objecting to provisions that they themselves
enthusiastically endorsed in the Appropriations Committee and on
the House floor," said Rep. David Price, D-N.C. "They seem to be
incapable of taking 'yes' for an answer."
Obama still faces many hurdles in fulfilling his promise to
close Guantanamo, several of which have been erected by his allies
in Congress. The homeland security bill requires the administration
to develop a plan before any further transfers. And Congress has
refused to give Obama any money required to close the facility.
Still, the public is mixed at best on the idea of closing
Guantanamo and transferring some of its prisoners to the U.S.
Respondents to an AP/Gfk poll in June found Americans evenly
divided on whether they support Obama's decision to close
Guantanamo. A Gallup poll taken around the same time - but with the
question worded differently - found that respondents opposed
closing Guantanamo by a 2-1 margin and rejected the idea of moving
detainees to their states by a 4-1 margin.
Several of the fiscal 2010 funding bills contain varying
restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, reflecting
widespread opposition among voters. The Senate-passed defense
appropriations bill, for example, contains an outright ban on
releasing Guantanamo detainees into the U.S., including for trial
The underlying spending bill also backs the Obama
administration's refusal to release new photos showing U.S.
personnel abusing detainees held overseas. The measure supports
Obama's decision to allow the defense secretary to bar the release
of detainee photos for three years.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit to obtain
unreleased photos of detainee abuse under the Freedom of
Information Act and won two rounds in federal court. The measure
would essentially trump the ACLU's case.
In response, the administration has appealed to the Supreme
Court and Obama has 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.
But the detainee photos provision earned a sharp rebuke from
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., normally a leadership loyalist from
her perch as chairwoman of the powerful Rules Committee. She said
that "the people's right to know is more important than the
government's desire to keep things secret."
The bill is H.R. 2892.
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