House committee votes not to fund US facility for Guantanamo transfers News
House committee votes not to fund US facility for Guantanamo transfers
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[JURIST] The US House Armed Services Committee [official website] has approved a bill prohibiting the Obama administration from modifying or building a facility in the US to hold detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 [text, PDF] provides the Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] with $567 billion, but requires [summary, PDF] that any plan to construct or modify US facilities to accommodate Guantanamo transfers be "accompanied by a thorough and comprehensive plan that outlines the merits, costs, and risks associated with utilizing such a facility." As the Obama administration has not presented such a plan to Congress, the bill prohibits the use of any funds for the purpose of preparing a US facility for Guantanamo transfers. The bill also requires that the President submit a "comprehensive disposition plan and risk assessment" prior to transferring any detainees to the US, which Congress would have 120 days to review, and that the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that countries accepting Guantanamo transfers meet "strict security criteria." In response to the Wednesday vote, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website] said that his state still plans to sell [AP report] the Thomson Correctional Center (TCC) [DOC backgrounder] to the federal government, despite a conflict between the provisions of the pending authorization act and a plan to use the facility to house Guantanamo detainees [JURIST report].

In November the US Senate [official website] defeated a measure which would have placed similar restrictions [JURIST report] into the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act [text, PDF; HR 3082 materials]. In June 2009, the US House denied [JURIST report] an Obama administration request for $60 million to fund the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and required the president to submit a detailed plan to Congress documenting the costs and risks of transferring a detainee to the US for trial or detention at least two months before the detainee is to be transferred. In October, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] announced that the Obama administration may miss its January deadline for closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, echoing prior statements [JURIST reports] by top administration officials. US President Barack Obama originally issued the executive order to close Guantanamo within a year [JURIST report] on January 22, 2009, two days after taking office.