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

Senate Dems to pull money for closing Gitmo

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. 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?

    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 |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    It is absolutely amazing to listen to the christian right blather on and on about safety and personal responsibility for THEMSELVES but totally disavow helping others. The Pakastani's are fighting the Taliban and Al Queda. This is a good thing for America. It was ok to spend 3 trillion dollars invading Iraq, yet we are not to help those actually fighting Al Queda and the Taliban, the actual masterminds of 9/11?

    May 19, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. RH

    I wonder how many Republicans are working to find suitable alternative accommodations for the inmates? It seems they are more interested in derailing Obama's agenda than they are in keeping these men secure. I'm sure most Republicans would prefer that Guantanamo remain open, but that ship has sailed. The Republicans had their shot at running things and they failed spectacularly. You want to remake the GOP into a competitive force? Grow up, dry your eyes, and conduct a responsible opposition in good faith.

    May 19, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Mississippi Mike

    The GOP shows signs of life. This is good, mainstream America didn't want terrorists on our soil. Leave them in Cuba where terrorism is fashionable.

    May 19, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Kevin, Austin TX

    @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."

    Maybe you should – it is apparent that you have no soul or empathy.

    May 19, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. DShirley

    -Spineless Democrats

    -Fear Mongering Republicans

    -An electorate caught in the middle

    May 19, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. gt

    send them to san fran or boston......... let ms nancy or barney worry about them...

    May 19, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. jjr

    I am seeing posts that are questioning why this is such a big deal. They simply don't understand that it is not the fact that these criminals could break out themselves, it is the damage and casualties that may occur when their "friends" try to break them out. Most criminals would not sacrifice themselves by trying to break out their "friends", however, these terrorists would consider it an honor to die to promote their cause and they wouldn't mind taking a few Americans with them. It is very easy to come to America and get very close to a prison but it isn't easy to go into Cuba on our Military base to try to break them out and that is why they are there.

    May 19, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. commonsense

    The reason you don't house them in prisons within the US is so that those areas are not targets for future attacks, not that there is the possibility of a prison break. I thought that was common sense? I don't want my hometown to become a terrorist target, do you?

    May 19, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. A VET

    Here's a crazy idea.Why not send them back where they came from?

    May 19, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Greenriverkate

    I am sooooo fed up with the Democratic Party!!! They couldn't grow a set if someone handed them some. Cowards and they have been for years. This is it for me and I am done! I will be checking voting records til the next election. I would NEVER vote republican again (usually state level, or lower level) and now I won't vote Demo again.
    Obama has had to fight for anything he wants and loses because of the coward democrats. They keep saying the republicans don't get it. Well neither do the democrats.. We said change, we like Obama and the hell with both parties. Someone better start listening to us

    May 19, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Dixon

    Republicans will complain about everything why worry about it. We made these prisoners our problem and we need to deal with them. Leaving them on another countries shore is not how we should do things. I know it is the Republican way to move everything off shore (money, jobs and now prisoners).

    May 19, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Thought Criminal

    I think this article was poorly written, because a lot of people seem to be confused. If I read the article correctly I believe it says: There is no plan to close Gitmo as of yet, so congress decided not to pay $80 Million toward closing Gitmo, aka funds for moving prisoners and funds for preparing to close the base.

    Seems like congress actually got something right. Why pay for something when there is no plan.

    May 19, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Allen

    I can't believe what I'm reading...."Lock them up in American prisons" And you think waterboarding was bad. Wait until the prisoners here finish with them if they can still talk they'll be begging for Gitmo and some waterboarding. If your so concerned put them up in your house.

    May 19, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. S.S., MD

    What's wrong with ALCATRAZ? California needs help financially.

    May 19, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. Greg from MA

    There is a town in Montana which already volunteered to take the prisoners at Gitmo and house them in a currently unoccupied prison in their town. It's relatively isolated and would provide a needed economic boost.

    Where's the issue?

    May 19, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. b franklin

    OK all of you Democrats, It seems like the longer Obama and the Democratic congress is in power, the more they seem to be adopting the Bush policies. Isn't it interesting that the more information that they have access to, the more the seeem to understand that the last guy knew what he was doing.

    May 19, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Terry

    Is there any issue important enough for Democrats to show a little spine?

    May 19, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Audrey

    Close Gitmo and scatter the prisoners around the U.S. Our prison
    system can handle it. Now get to work and stop dragging your behinds
    on this issue.

    May 19, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. Donnygull

    Quit rolling over for the GD GOP.

    May 19, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. No More Incumbents

    Let's put them in Washington, with the rest of the bad guys..........

    May 19, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. J of K

    @ 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'
    I think you are the only one on the comment segments that really has a clue. I would bet the farm that you are 110% correct.

    Obama is good at saying he will do, but there isn't a plan or follow-thru.

    May 19, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. Retired US ARMY

    Get a back bone. Gitmo is synomsis with maltreatment of prisoners. If you can not do that at least put a federal judge in charge of the trials, or have the trials conducted under the UCMJ rather than a concieved tribunal.

    Shame on all the Congressman campaigning on "not in my back yard" expecially those that voted in favor of permitting Bush to use military force in Iraq. It's okay to send servicemen and women into harms way but its not okay to share in the price of war which includes the providing of safe, secure humane conditions for prisoners.

    Develop the plan, I am from Kansas send them here and leave Roberts and Brownback on the roadside.

    May 19, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Brian

    Looks like all the change that was promised AIN'T going to happen. Obama is like the dog that chased his tail, he caught it, and now has NO idea what to do with it. You get what you vote for.

    May 19, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. JR

    God, when are the democrats going to grow some balls, fulfill your promises and tell the republicans to pound sand.

    May 19, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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