Excerpts from article AP: Senate OKs transfer of Gitmo prisoners for trials by Andrew Taylor
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama won a modest victory Tuesday in his continuing effort to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, allowing the government to continue to transfer detainees at the facility to the U.S. to be prosecuted.
The plan to permit terrorist suspects held at the facility to be shipped to U.S. soil to face trial passed the Senate by a 79-19 vote as part of a larger $44.1 billion budget bill for the Homeland Security Department.
The measure already passed by the House now goes to Obama for his signature. The Guantanamo provision generally tracks restrictions already in place that block release of detainees in the U.S., but permits them to be tried here.
Obama in January ordered the facility closed within a year, but the administration has yet to deliver a plan and the effort has hit several roadblocks. Among the problems is unease among Obama’s Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, who have refused to fund the effort.
The plan adopted Tuesday requires the administration to develop a plan before any further transfers. It also requires 15 days’ notice before a transfer can occur and a certification that the prisoner does not represent a security risk.
The Senate debate over Guantanamo prisoners was relatively sedate. Last week, House Democratic leaders had to press to defeat a GOP effort to block transfer of any of the Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S., even to face 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 bill also would extend for three years the E-Verify program, which uses the Social Security Administration database so that employers can verify the immigration status of new hires. A GOP plan to permanently expand the voluntary program and make it mandatory for federal contractors — which passed the Senate in July — was dropped during House-Senate talks.
The E-Verify program is a favorite of lawmakers who prefer an enforcement-first approach to immigration policy. They want to make it mandatory for employers nationwide. But more liberal lawmakers want to pair it with other elements of immigration reform, such as creating a so-called pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in this country.
So once again the Senate Republicans are either outsmarted or outmaneuvered. The White House gets their way again and the door has been opened for the administration will finally be able to bring the Gitmo prisoners to US soil.
First, we need the names of the Republicans who voted for this bill. Then we need to know if any of them read the bill or if they knew it had been buried in the bill and voted for it anyway.
Do the Republicans have any leaders at all? Why would they allow this to happen? Couldn’t they insist that this be made into a separate bill? If not, shouldn’t they have all voted against it on principle? It makes you wonder how much different things would be even if there were more Republicans in the Senate.
I am starting to think the only way we get real change is with a clean sweep and a viable third party – which means real conservatives need to figure out how to get on one page. This is another failure in a growing list of failures where Republicans did not show any backbone and loudly rail against this deception of the public.
Restore the Republic, Reject the Spineless Legislators who won’t read bills and fight for their constituents!