File this away for posterity. And by that I mean the next time someone blames President Obama for failing to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The House of Representatives has voted to block the administration from transferring detainees by a margin of 236 to 188 by passing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (NDAA). You can read the amendment here.
None of the amounts authorized to be available to the Department of Defense may be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release, during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2014, any individual detained at Guantanamo (as such term is defined in section 1033(f)(2)) to the custody or control of the Republic of Yemen or any entity within Yemen.
As many as 56 detainees have been cleared by the Department of Defense to be released to Yemen, but the House of Representatives simply will not allow it. In total, as many as 86 out of 166 detainees have been cleared for transfer.
In addition to barring the administration from transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Yemen, the latest version of the NDAA also includes language that was included in previous versions that bar the administration from transferring detainees to American soil.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) sponsored an amendment that would have eased the restrictions on transferring detainees to American soil, but that amendment was defeated.
The House also rejected an amendment to ease the restrictions on transferring detainees to the U.S. by a 174-249 vote.
The amendment from Smith would have called for Obama to put forward a plan to close the detention facility. It also would have lifted the U.S. restrictions for detainees and ended funding for the facility by the end of 2014.
Just as they have in the past, representatives who are opposed to closing the prison at Guantanamo presented convincing arguments such as “they are not innocent goat herders swept up by marauding United States military” and that “every elementary school, every shopping mall, every small business” will become a target.