The US House on Thursday used the first spending bill for next year to reject President Obama’s plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The House voted 259-157 for the $64 billion package, but they refused to fund the closing of the facility next year. The House also set forth restrictions for the transfer of detainees from the Cuba facility. One detainee was previously transferred to New York to stand trial. Nine have been transferred to other countries and the Obama administration is negotiating with foreign leaders to accept Guantanamo detainees. The bill would allow the transfer into the US of detainees Only after Congress has had two months to study a White House report on how it plans to close the facility.
Representative Bob Inglis of South Carolina’s 4th District suggested Thursday that the President visit the facility and that he invite other world leaders to join him there, and that the prison should be open for inspection by humanitarian groups from around the world.
Inglis says it’s not the same place it was just a few years ago. “It was something akin to cages, but it’s not that any more. Now it’s a state-of-the art facility that we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on and it doesn’t make sense to shutter that.”
Inglis says the facility is very different after half a billion dollars in improvements and it would be “nuts” to close it. “In fact, if I were one of those detainees, I think I would rather be detained in GITMO than a prison in the US. It’s a brand new facility with air conditioning, prayer rugs, prayer facilities and it very sensitive to Muslim culture.”
Inglis voted for an amendment offered by Representative Jerry Lewis that would prohibit any money from the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriation bill to be used for closing the Guantanamo Bay facility. The amendment by the Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee narrowly failed, 212-213, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped in to cast the deciding vote.