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Republicans fume over report Obama may shut Guantanamo

11 october 2014, 10:52
0

 President Barack Obama is considering shutting Guantanamo and transferring its terror-suspect detainees to US soil, according to a US news report that raised the ire of Republican lawmakers Friday, AFP reports.

The report in the Wall Street Journal said that Obama is mulling moving the Guantanamo inmates to US soil without first obtaining congressional consent.

While administration officials say Obama prefers a legislative solution rather than overriding Congress through executive action, a senior official told the daily that the president remained "unwavering in his commitment" to closing the prison, and wants all options on the table.

But House Speaker John Boehner warned that Obama would be making a "dangerous" mistake to shift the detainees to US prisons.

"An overwhelming majority of the American people and bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate oppose importing the terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay into the United States, yet the White House continues to move forward with its plan," Boehner said in a statement.

"Even as Islamic jihadists are beheading Americans, the White House is so eager to bring these terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the United States that it is examining ways to thwart Congress and unilaterally re-write the law," he said.

Republican Senator Pat Roberts threatened to bring legislative action to a standstill should Obama seek to shift "a Gitmo terrorist" into the United States.

"If he tries it, I will shut down the Senate," Roberts told supporters in Kansas, according to Roll Call.

Other Republicans also sounded off.

"Any action by the president to close Guantanamo Bay by overriding Congress is blatantly illegal," House Republican Mark Meadows warned on Twitter.

And Republican Senator Tim Scott tweeted: "They should stay right where they are... far away from our schools and families."

The US Naval facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba currently holds 149 detainees linked to the post-9/11 war on terrorism, but

Obama made closing Guantanamo a campaign promise but he has been thwarted by domestic and international obstacles.

Congress in 2010 banned the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to US soil after the administration proposed relocating them to a maximum-security prison in Illinois.

Friday's expressions of outrage by Republican lawmakers come on the heels of moves to sue the president over what they consider abuses of executive power, including delays to key provisions of Obama's health care law.

Republicans also have voiced exasperation at Obama's threats to take executive action on other issues like minimum wage and immigration.

Complaints grew louder in June when the administration revealed it bypassed Congress and released five Taliban Guantanamo detainees for the return of a US Army sergeant held for five years in Afghanistan.


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