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Obama Faces Congressional Backlash to His Plan to Close Guantanamo Bay Prison
Obama's promise to close the Guantanamo facility within a year of taking office has run into Republicans and Democrats opposed to bringing accused terrorists onto U.S. shores.

FOXNews.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
President Obama is facing strong backlash to his plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- including from members of his own party.

House Democratic leaders weighed in Wednesday with a plan that would block any release of Guantanamo detainees within the United States but that would allow them to be shipped to the U.S. to stand trial or to serve their sentences.

On Thursday, the House will debates a $96 billion emergency spending bill to wind down the war in Iraq and fund operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the bill provides no money to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

The Rules Committee, which sets the terms of debate for nearly every piece of legislation that hits the House floor, rejected a measure by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., that would not allow any detainees to be freed until the White House details how it would handle each detainee and assesses the impact releases could have on local communities. Wolf's plan also would give state governors the authority to say no to prisoner releases into their states.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wis., authored the emergency spending bill and opposed Wolf's amendment.

"I don't think we should give every governor power to veto a federal decision," Obey said.

In the Senate, new Democratic legislation would fund the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but it would block the transfer of any of the detainees to the United States.

Obama's promise to close the Guantanamo facility within a year of taking office has run into Republicans and Democrats opposed to bringing accused terrorists onto U.S. shores.

The request for $50 million to close Guantanamo and transfer its detainees elsewhere has attracted much controversy, occupying many lawmakers -- especially Republicans -- even as other lawmakers voice growing worries about the chances of defeating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The administration has yet to produce a plan for what to do with the approximately 240 Guantanamo detainees, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that between 50 and 100 would end up in U.S. facilities.

Although the $96.7 billion measure headed for a House vote Thursday contains no funds to transfer Guantanamo detainees, the Pentagon retains the ability to seek informal approval to transfer funds from other accounts to achieve its goals.

But Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, on Wednesday circulated an approximately $91.5 billion measure that includes $50 million to shutter Guantanamo and move its prisoners -- with the proviso that they can't be sent to the United States. The Senate bill appears to favor paying foreign governments to accept the prisoners.

It's by no means certain that other countries will prove willing to accept many Guantanamo detainees, especially if the United States is unwilling

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