May 19th, 2009
12:33 PM ET
5 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. Fair is Fair

    @ Who Cares – Please send the name of your city and state to the White House, along with a petition of all your neighbors, stating you think it would be a good idea to house them there.

    May 19, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Maggie from Virginia

    This was made public at least a week ago. This is why I no longer watch CNN.

    May 19, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Tate

    Could this administration do anything to embarrass itself any more. I have never seen in my life so much back tracking in a presidants term. We are 4 months into this and they children are falling all over each other. What a funny joke that hope and change has become.

    May 19, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, CA

    if it wasn't sad it would actually be funny, I mean Republicans trying to sound like they know what the F they are talking about.

    Gitmo = prisoners without having a fair trial = UNCONSTITUTIONAL

    Period, you righties seem to think that everybody that steals a pack of gum should get a life sentance w/o possibility of parole, yet you don't say a darn thing when Bush ignores the fundamentals of the costitution. But then again, I'm talking to selfish opportunists (republicans) who hide behind God, flag and their heritage (lucky to be born in the US).

    May 19, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. SENSIBLE MIKE

    well of course a "newbie" like President Obama would make a mistake like that. I'm surprised he hasnt' been caught looking more dumb at things he's said and done except for the fact that the Dems seem to sweep his miscues (and Biden's) under the rug. Remember the whole Special Olympics fiasco? Ya I didn't think so. Republicans would have been crucified for that one and its lauged off by Democrats.

    May 19, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Why can't we just try GITMO detainees in a military tribunal or otherwise? Let's just get the process set up and started. The guilty ones meet the firing squad. Innocent ones go home. No need to worry about sending them to the US and the base closure will happen when all the detainees are tried. The only real tangible cost will be the bullets.

    May 19, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Kate in San Diego

    I would think it would be obvious the prison at Gitmo cannot be closed until a decision is made where to send these guys. There are plenty of supermax prisons here to hold them. Let them share cell space with the guy who helped Tim McVeigh who's name i am forgetting now. They have a lot in common. Now you all guess whether I am rep or dem.

    May 19, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Adele

    This gulag is a shame and not closing it is more of a shame. And the democrats in my opinion are as usual shameful.

    May 19, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Too True For You

    Huh. Comments here are interesting.

    The republicans get what they want, and they spin it as democrats "caving".

    If they hadn't gotten what they wanted, they would have spun it as democrats wanting to house bloodthristy terrorists next to the bedrooms of our virginal daughters, or some such meaningless emotive pundit-freindly populist slander.

    Basic republican "always attack regardless of the outcome" political grandstanding. No matter what, even if democrats agree with them, you can count on republicans finding a way to spin it negatively.

    May 19, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Hilary

    I think it's good that they want to wait to approve funding for when a plan is submitted to them. What I don't understand is why Republicans insist on continuing their fearmongering by telling people that detainees are going to be "your new neighbor." Do they not have faith in our military bases or federal prisons? How is it different from the thousands of prisoners we already have detained here in the U.S. that have actually been proven guilty of committing a crime?

    May 19, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Adele

    These terrorists are criminals and as such should be tried in civil courts and jailed in US prisons. What is wrong with that ?

    May 19, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. Kelby In Houston, TX

    wOw. when I first heard the term conservadem, I thought, these guys will replace the GOP...cool. Now, these guys caved because of criticism?!? oh senate dems...remember sticks and stones will break your bones but criticisism from the GOP won't do JACK!!!

    May 19, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz,VA

    Virginia has already said we will take the prisoners. I'd prefer they be kept in the U.S. They wouldn't last a day in a supermax or in Leavenworth.

    May 19, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. Maestroh

    Hee hee hee.

    For eight years the Democrats bashed Bush on everything and now they've basically adopted his agenda of isolating terrorists and bankrupting the government.

    This is CHANGE?

    Sure sounds like the same old thing to me.

    May 19, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Monrob

    Flippity- Flop Obo.

    May 19, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. BC

    What's all the hub-bub about transferring them to U.S. prisons like Supermax? They guys are far less dangerous than some of the ruthless gangland killers in prison. These al-Queda guys would actually need to be secluded because they would get seriously ripped apart otherwise.

    "Meet your new neighbor, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?" – what the heck does that mean? He'll be locked up in a maximum security prison. If you happen to live next to one of those, why not go ahead and say "Meet you old neighbor that you have been living next to for 30 years, Charles Manson"?

    May 19, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. jaye

    Somebody tell Michael Steele that his "socialist" words are old and tired – that he should address the illegal war and torture issue his party inflicted, instead.

    May 19, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Ben KC

    Meet the New president, same as the Old president. You fools elected George Bush the 3rd.....

    May 19, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. DaBird

    Obama sure tends to make promises that he can't keep. This is just the "lie of the day". For all of you who blamed Republicans in your comments, PLEASE wake up. Obama has been President for 4 months.

    May 19, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Zach

    Renee, I doubt Obama knows the rules of chess. His entire administrations has been run with about as much foresight as it would take to play checkers.

    May 19, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Darth Vadik, CA

    This is why Democrats lose to rotten Republicans, instead of grabbing a piece of filthy mud and slinging it all over Boehners face (including his dispersion of tobacco company checks worth $10,000 on the CONGRESS FLOOR), they try to play nice with snakes and scorpions who will sting them anyway. Grow som cojones, and just bash their heads in you lousy democrats. I'll do it for you, just put a TV camera in front of my face.

    May 19, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. Sharon - Texas

    I vote to put all these prisoners in some of our hard-core prisons until they have a trial. There is no reason to keep them where they are. After a few weeks inside "the real prison world", they might tell us all we need to know. This way it doesn't matter what states get them. They may eat better than I do where they are!

    May 19, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. Anna

    Thank you to the Democrats!
    Please follow the same logic with regard to healthcare...do not set aside the $687 billion for healthcare. The Obama administration has not presented a plan. Setting aside enormous sums of money for a healthcare care plan that does not exist is criminal.

    May 19, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. Rick

    Now that is government at work.
    Just because the president wants something, doesn't mean he'll get it.
    Show us a plan first.
    I just wish congress would have applied that logic to the stimulus bill.

    May 19, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Darth Vadik, CA

    If I hear another one of you righties saying there is no plan for gitmo "prisoners" I'll tell you this much, there are more county jail prisoners in Los Angeles on any given night then 500 or 600 gitmo prisoners.

    What to do with them?
    WHAT?
    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    How about charging them with a crime in the US court, like the rest of us?
    What, you don't have evidence?
    Well my oh my, what to do with a prisoner of color when there is no evidence (I know wat you old Southeners are thinking and the answer is NO).

    Either way, is a FAIR trial really too much to ask for?

    May 19, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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