The Obama Administration’s request for $83.4 billion in “emergency” funding for the military earlier this month focuses chiefly on paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet it is not the additional funding for the wars (nearing $1 trillion) that may hold it up in the Senate.
Instead, Senator Mitch McConnell says that the $80 million request for Guantanamo Bay related expenses, including $50 million to close the controversial detainee camp, are the obstacle. One military advocacy group said the inclusion “will significantly delay the passage of this legislation.”
President Obama issued an executive order earlier this year requiring the facility to eventually close, though he has struggled to get European nations to commit to take the released prisoners. While former Bush Administration official Lawrence Wilkerson says that the vast majority of the detainees held there are innocent, Sen. McConnell and others are opposed to the closing of the facility and the freeing of “these murderers.”
The Defense Department seems to be hoping the bill will pass before the July 4 Congressional recess, and General David Petraeus will reportedly meet with lawmakers tomorrow in a closed-door session to discuss the bill.