News / USA

    Congressional Republicans: Obama's Guantanamo Plan Dead on Arrival

    FILE - From left, Republican U.S. Senators John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina talk to reporters on Capitol Hill about legislation aimed at restricting prisoner transfers from Guantanamo Bay, Jan. 13, 2015.
    FILE - From left, Republican U.S. Senators John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina talk to reporters on Capitol Hill about legislation aimed at restricting prisoner transfers from Guantanamo Bay, Jan. 13, 2015.
    Cindy Saine

    President Barack Obama is vowing to finally close down the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as he pledged to do when he first ran for office eight years ago. But the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate was quick to reject the president’s plan, calling it vague and dangerous.

    Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the Senate would review Obama’s plan, but added, "Since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in U.S. communities, he should know that the bipartisan will of Congress has already been expressed against that proposal.”

    Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona has been a strong advocate of closing down Guantanamo, agreeing with Obama that the facility is contrary to American values. McCain, who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said his committee would hold hearings on the president’s proposal. But he also criticized the plan.

    “What we received today is a vague menu of options, not a credible plan for closing Guantanamo, let alone a coherent policy to deal with future terrorist detainees," said McCain. He and other Republican lawmakers faulted the president for not saying where he would house current and future detainees.

    Ryan: ‘Against the Law’

    On the House side, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin sharply rebuked the plan. “Congress has left no room for confusion," he said. "It is against the law — and it will stay against the law — to transfer terrorist detainees to American soil. We will not jeopardize our national security over a campaign promise.”

    FILE - Ellen Sturtz, an activist from the antiwar group CodePink, participates in a silent protest during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington on the detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015.
    FILE - Ellen Sturtz, an activist from the antiwar group CodePink, participates in a silent protest during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington on the detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015.

    To thwart efforts by the president to close down Guantanamo, Congress has repeatedly passed legislation making any effort to transfer detainees to the United States illegal since 2011.

    The president’s plan names 13 possible transfer sites in the United States, including seven federal prisons in Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas. But the plan does not recommend any particular site. Lawmakers from those three states have been particularly vocal in opposing any plan to transfer detainees to U.S. soil.

    South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said the location the White House is looking at in his state is within five miles (eight kilometers) of a dozen schools and multiple neighborhoods. He tweeted, “There is no reason to put a target on an American community when the U.S. already has an isolated facility, well-guarded by Marines.”

    The president argues that U.S. federal courts have successfully prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned hundreds of people for crimes related to terrorism, with no incidents of prisoners escaping.

    But the Republican-led House and Senate are not likely to consider new legislation to reverse course and allow detainees to be transferred to U.S. soil — which would be a highly charged issue — during an election year.

    Obama has not ruled out taking executive action to close down Guantanamo, but this would most likely provoke outrage in Congress.

    Democrats: Guantanamo a ‘Blight’

    Democratic leaders and rank-and-file members from both chambers came out in strong support of the president’s closure plan.

    “The reality is Guantanamo hurts rather than advances our efforts to keep America safe and combat terrorism abroad,“ said House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. She called on Congress to thoroughly review the plan.

    “I’ve been there — it is a blight on our country," tweeted Democratic Representative Judy Chu of California. "We must remain a nation of laws and justice.”

    She said the president is right to close down the controversial prison, but Democrats cannot bring legislation to the floor since they are currently in the minority in both the House and the Senate.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: PermReader
    February 24, 2016 9:05 AM
    This post ,as thousands of others, is the bipartisan principle mock of VOA : the Republicans are against,the Dems are pro. I sould like to look into the Rep journalists of VOA in the eyes.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora