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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora