May 19th, 2009
12:33 PM ET
6 years ago

Senate Dems to pull money for closing Gitmo

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CNN has learned that Senate Democrats will vote against funding the closing of the Guantanamo Bay military prison.
CNN has learned that Senate Democrats will vote against funding the closing of the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has learned Senate Democrats will pull money to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison from a war funding bill instead of face an onslaught of criticism from Republicans, who argue it would be reckless to shutter the prison before the Obama administration has decided where to transfer the terrorism suspects who are detained there.

Democratic leaders made the decision this morning, according to two Senate Democratic leadership sources. It is a blow to President Obama who - in one of his first official acts as president - announced that he would close the base by next January 22.

The Senate war supplemental bill, which is scheduled to be voted on this week, included $80 million for the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice to begin the process of shutting down the prison.

Now, that money will be stripped out and replaced with language saying no funds can be used to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the United States, and no additional money will be approved, until 60 days after the president submits to Congress his plan to close the facility. That language is similar to a provision in the House bill.

Republicans launched a high-profile campaign against closing the base prematurely, just this morning releasing a statement headlined: "Meet your new neighbor, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?"

"Republicans see this as a wedge issue against Democrats and we're not going to let them do it," explained one of the sources.

Privately, some Democrats have complained the president put them in an awkward position of having to defend funding the closure before a plan was developed, one of the sources said.


Filed under: Guantanamo Bay • President Obama
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Obama Victim

    Repubs 1 Obama 0

    May 19, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Mac

    Wow, you mean you actually have to have a plan BEFORE you do things in Washington? What a novel idea.

    May 19, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. ray ray

    What's the matter, dems? Can't keep your campaign promises??

    I'm SO glad Obama closed GITMO (eyes rolling). What did anyone REALLY expect from a guy who sat for 20 years in a racist church but says he never heard anything?

    May 19, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Rose

    So Congress is going to take money from our Military needs to get rid of people that want to kill us. Unbelieveable!!!!!

    May 19, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Simple solution. Take the $100 million you're sending to Pakistan. Subtract out the $80 million to close Gitmo. Take the remaining $20 million and send it to Pakistan.

    Maybe I should run for congress.

    May 19, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Kobe

    What's the big fear in moving them to American soil. They're our prisoners we captured. Put them in a supermax with 24 hour surveillance – end of story.

    May 19, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Terry

    Well, when the going gets tough, Democrats cave in like a wet paper sack.

    Obama has no choice other than to just let them all go. We should ship them back to wherever they came from. Many of them will be in a pretty cranky mood after the way they have been treated. This is not to say, of course, that they are good people. I'm sure many of them would cut our throats without a moment's hesitation.

    However, no patriotic American would approve of keeping hundreds of men in prison for life without a trial long after the war is over. Only a totalitarian dictatorship, like our favorite trading partner China, would do that.

    Senate Democrats are looking after their cushy jobs, not the nation. I am ashamed of them.

    May 19, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Joy

    So now the Senate Dems fear facing "an onslaught of criticism from Republicans." How pathetic! First they roll over for W's fake WMDs, then the Al Qaeda-Iraqi link, then GITMO, ... you name it. Then their mantra became "Yes, we can!" Politics in the US is devolving just at the economy has. The sky may not be falling, but it sure looks dark up there.

    May 19, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Baze

    Sounds like a solid move to me. How are you going to shut down a prison if you don't know what to do with the prisoners? If our allies are so hungry for a sign of good will, then they can open up their prisons to these radical SOB that we have locked up.

    May 19, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Susan

    Evil in the name of good is still EVIL. Close this torture chamber, as well as the secret ones in Europe, and restore America's moral fortitude before it's too late.

    May 19, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Proud DHS radical

    80 million DOLLARS just to shut down one wood and barb wired built prison?? I would like to see how they came up with that figure?

    May 19, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. flybyshoeing

    Way to go Demarepublics.

    May 19, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Nick

    Why didn't they do that during Bush's presidency? All they had to do was not pass bills and funding. And they controlled Congress from 2006.

    May 19, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. Tulsa

    Republicans launched a high-profile campaign against closing the base prematurely, just this morning releasing a statement headlined: "Meet your new neighbor, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?"

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?
    FEAR AND SMEAR BABY. It's all they know.

    May 19, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. renee

    President Obama is playing chess...he knew this would happen if he did not submit a plan, which he planned. This way people can blame someone else when the deadline is not met....very smart chess player

    May 19, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. SLM

    They don't have a clue what they are doing. All the promises Obama made were without any plans in how to do so. That didn't matter, getting elected was his only real goal. Too bad people voted for a trainee to learn on the job.

    May 19, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. DefiantOne

    Dems cave, GOP wins, Obama loses...how does America respond?

    May 19, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    I have a couple of suggestions as to where to move the terrorist. First it has to be an island to help prohibit escape. I would suggest Martha's Vinyard, Catalina Island, or Alcatraz.

    May 19, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. buckwheat

    I see no problem with closing Gitmo.Turn them lose and send them to the White House they seem to feel the need to free them. Could come back to bite them later if their kin come back in 200 years demanding compensation.

    May 19, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Big-K

    Look like we have some left leaning spine less Democrats who are also falling for the Repubs fear Mongering Rhetoric.

    May 19, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Cowboy in West Texas

    Standard operating procedure for politicians –

    Ready

    Fire

    Aim

    OOPS!!!!!!!!

    May 19, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. ObamaShrugged

    I say we close Gitmo and send all the terrorists to San Quentin – just let the inmates know these are the the 9/11 co-conspirators. This issue should be dead in a couple of weeks.

    May 19, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. WhoCares?

    Are our US prisons made out of swiss cheese or something?

    I guess I am a tad confused why we have fear to house these criminals in US prisons. I haven't heard of a slew of prison breaks lately....have you?

    May 19, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. Micgael

    Geese you would think we were locking intergalactic SUPER villians that had Jedi knight like powers

    How can we lock up the worst criminals we have with no problem yet can't lock these up ? BTW how many have escaped Cuba ?

    May 19, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. Paul H

    Wow! They actually want to hold off closing Gitmo until they have a plan! What a wonderful idea!

    May 19, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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