Will Congress Bar The Administration From Closing Gitmo Again?

Gitmo

As we’ve documented here in the past when no one else would, Congress has repeatedly voted to prohibit the Obama administration from closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and these votes have been tucked away inside the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) at the end of each year, making it virtually veto-proof.

We’ve reached the end of year again and the NDAA is up for renewal.

According to The Hill, we should find out sometime either today or this week whether or not Congress will vote, yet again, to bar the administration from closing Gitmo.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) will hold a press conference at 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon to announce the “comprehensive” National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) agreement and “propose a way forward to passage,” according to a committee aide. [...]

The final details of several contentious issues on the bill have not yet been announced, but Smith told reporters that the “big four” leaders of the Armed Services panels weren’t shying away from controversial issues on the legislation, such as what do to do with the detainees at Guantánamo.

With a deadline of Friday, the NDAA has been described as “take-it-or-leave it,” meaning it’s likely that it will represent a continuation of the status quo because there’s no time left to debate or amend it.

Congress could pitch a curve ball and finally allow the closure of the prison, but I’m not optimistic.

Previous versions of the NDAA have been passed with veto-proof majorities.

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  • Christopher Foxx

    It’s a standard tactic to put very unpopular, and often unrelated, amendments on a “must pass” omnibus-type, “veto proof” bill. The idea being the President would never be able to veto such a bill because of the political hit.

    It would be refreshing to have a president take a stand and do exactly that. And I honestly believe it wouldn’t come with a political hit. The President should make it very, extremely, clear that he’s all fine with passing the bill except for the offending part. That the thing holding up the bill is the Republican’s insistence that this piece be included. Get the issue framed that way, and it’s the folks sticking in the added bit who take the political hit.

    • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

      I’d like to see that as well and it’s an opportunity only a second term President could do.
      If the Dems get the messaging straight from the get-go and apply the pressure on our do-nothing congress, it could be a lovely sight to behold.

      • Christopher Foxx

        If the Dems get the messaging straight from the get-go and apply the pressure

        I see now why it doesn’t happen. ;)

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      The Press is carrying GOP water and I think the President would take a hit and so would any Dem supporting him on it. (A whole day arguing with Greenwaldians has made me grumpy LOL)

      • Christopher Foxx

        I disagree. (About the taking a hit, not about the press carrying GOP water. That’s self-evident.)

        Handled properly the President could get the framing of this as I said and any hit would be taken by the obstructors. It’s sad that fear of people saying bad things about you drives so much of our “leaders”" inactions.

  • muselet

    … [T]he “big four” leaders of the Armed Services panels weren’t shying away from controversial issues on the legislation, such as what do to do with the detainees at Guantánamo.

    Damn. I laughed so hard I nearly choked on a peanut.

    If the NDAA doesn’t prohibit the closure of the prison at Guantánamo, I’ll be genuinely surprised.

    –alopecia

  • Scopedog

    Here’s another question, JM…will we see (yet again) long-winded harangues from Greenwald, Benjamin, and other notable dudebros that will attack the President for not waving the magic wand to close Gitmo, while ignoring the Senate’s very prominent role in this mess?

    • nathkatun7

      You can bet on that happening! The emoprogs will be out in full force attacking the President over his failure to use the mythological and magical “bully-pulpit” to impose his will on Congress; just as FDR and LBJ did, despite the reality that they presided over Congresses with Democratic super majorities. And, they were not viscerally hated by the opposition party because they were Black and thus considered to be illegitimate Presidents.