Obama Administration Floating Lawless Plan To Close Gitmo Through Executive Action In Defiance Of Congress
|Editorial Cartoon by William Warren|
The House is not in session today.
The Senate will reconvene at 3 PM today and resume consideration of H.R. 2029, the Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill.
At 5:30 PM, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the nomination of Scott Allen to be United States Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The Hill wrote on Saturday, “President Obama is on a collision course with congressional Republicans over the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, with increasing chatter in Washington that he might seek to close the prison through executive action.
“The administration is expected to hand over a plan to Congress for shuttering the Cuban prison, in an attempt to fulfill a long-standing campaign pledge before Obama leaves office.
“But even as Obama seeks cooperation from Congress, White House press secretary Josh Earnest has refused to rule out unilateral action to close the prison camp.
Indeed, AFP reported last week, “The White House said Thursday that if Congress blocks new plans to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison, President Barack Obama may resort to a controversial executive order to get the job done.
“With time running out for the 44th president to fulfil an incomplete election campaign promise, he looks increasingly likely to bypass lawmakers who have blocked the facility's closure. . . .
“The new closure proposal, drafted by Obama's top counterterror advisor, Lisa Monaco, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter would lift congressional restrictions on transferring detainees to the United States. . . . In 2009 Obama issued an executive order to close the camp, prompting a furious Congress to pass rules that made the transfer of detainees to US soil all but impossible.”
Congress has acted every year since then to pass into law explicit prohibitions on transferring Guantanamo detainees to the United States. President Obama has signed every one of these restrictions into law. But once again his White House is threatening to simply ignore a law he doesn’t like.
In a scathing editorial Friday, The Wall Street Journal explained what’s going on here: “President Obama is about to send Congress a doomed plan to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, so he can then shut down Gitmo the way he does nearly anything—by executive order . . . . Another day at the office for a progressive President intent on reducing the legislative branch to a nullity. For the record, the National Defense Authorization Act this year contains an explicit congressional ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. through 2016. . . .
“Mr. Obama’s inability to negotiate honestly with the legislature is a hallmark of his Presidency. More damaging is the precedent he is setting by making major policy changes with no more than a wave of his executive hand. Press reports note that Administration lawyers are working on legal justifications for the Gitmo order. Decision first, the law later.”
The Hill adds, “Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) suggested that the president is breaking the law by even having Defense Department officials study possible U.S. alternatives to the Cuban prison.
‘Look, the law is very clear. The law states no money shall be made available, shall be used, can be designated for the assistance of the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees,’ he said. Gardner added that he sent Obama a letter asking, ‘what basis in law does he believe he has to violate the law,’ and hadn’t received a response.
“Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)‘It’s a bad idea, really a bad idea. I hope those of us in the Congress will maintain our vigilance.’
“Roberts has already placed a hold on Obama’s Army secretary nominee, Eric Fanning, over Guantánamo, and is threatening to ‘place holds on any nominee necessary’ to keep the prison open.
“The administration's refusal to rule out circumventing Congress also appears to have antagonized Arizona Sen. John McCain, perhaps the biggest GOP advocate for finding a way to close the prison. McCain said that the president ‘lies when he says that he really wants to close Guantanamo with the cooperation of Congress, because he’s never sent over a plan.’ . . .
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has long opposed bringing detainees into the United States, and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) this week declared that, ‘Guantánamo detainees should be in Guantánamo.’”
That view was reiterated last week when senators from the three states most frequently mentioned as destinations for Guantanamo terror detainees held a news conference to reiterate their vehement opposition to such a move.
The Greenville News wrote last week, “Closing the Guantanamo Bay prison and moving its inmates to the U.S. would amount to an egregious end run on Congress, say three Republican senators whose states are under consideration for relocating the terrorist detainees.
“Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., called the military prison in Cuba ‘the world’s best location for these enemy combatants’ and said the Navy's Consolidated Brig military prison outside Charleston is not an acceptable alternative. . . .
“The possibility that a closure plan will be released this week drew heated responses from Scott and senators from Colorado and Kansas at a Capitol Hill news conference.
‘The president in this latest announcement is overcookin’ my grits,’ Scott said. ‘This is approaching lawless behavior. To consider a domestic location is, in my opinion, the worst decision for America’s national security.’
“Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas., has blocked Senate action on confirming Obama’s nominee for Army secretary to protest Fort Leavenworth's consideration as a terrorist detainee site. ‘This administration has continually gone around Congress and tried to figure out which button to push to irritate Congress the most. Well, he sure as hell pushed my button,’ Roberts said.
“Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said the administration already has violated the spending ban by sending teams to Colorado to inspect a closed state prison where it might try to house Guantanamo detainees. ‘The president has an obligation to drop campaign promises that imperil the people of this country,’ Gardner said.”
Tags: Iresident Obama, Obama Administration, lawless plan, close, GITMO, Executive action, defiance of Congress To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!