Alabama GOP congressmen vote to keep terrorists in Gitmo, Sewell votes against
WASHINGTON — The six Republican members of Alabama’s congressional delegation on Thursday voted to block the Obama administration’s attempts to transfer prisoners and close the prison at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The state’s lone Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell, voted against the measure.
For the last several years, Republicans have included language in the annual government funding package that prohibits bringing Gitmo prisoners to the United States, for which many Democrats have advocated. As a result, the Obama administration has instead shipped some of the prisoners to other countries, or released them all together.
The bill passed by the House Thursday would strictly prohibit both bringing the prisoners to the United States and transferring them to other counties, effectively making it impossible for President Obama to deliver on his campaign promise to shut down Gitmo.
“By attempting to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and release hardened terrorists, I fear this President is once again putting politics above national security,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “I fear he is more concerned about keeping a campaign promise than he is about keeping the American people – especially our service members fighting in the Middle East – safe.
“Today’s vote sends a clear message that there is bipartisan opposition to the President’s efforts to close the prison,” he continued. “Instead of letting terrorists free, the Obama Administration should be focused on ways to combat radical Islamic terrorism and defeat groups like ISIS.”
Reports indicate that some of the prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to terrorist activities. In fact, a recent report from Reuters indicates that two more former Guantanamo detainees have rejoined militant groups.
“Reports have indicated that it was a former Guantanamo detainee who helped organize and plan the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya,” said Rep. Byrne. “Four Americans lost their lives during that attack.”
There are currently 61 prisoners remaining at the Guantanamo Bay prison whom the government has deemed too dangerous to move.
Rep. Byrne spoke out on favor the Gitmo bill in a short speech on the House floor, which can be viewed below.