House Votes to Ban Any More Guantanamo Releases

Senate Seen Unlikely to Approve the Bill

In a 244-174 vote split almost perfectly along party lines, the House of Representatives has voted today in favor of a bill that would ban all transfers of detainees from Guantanamo Bay,  which if it became law would effectively end the remote chances of the facility being closed by President Obama.

That is seen as unlikely, however, with House members conceding that there is almost no chance that the Senate will follow suit and approve the measure. Even if it does, the White House has threatened a veto, and his appears to have no real override chance.

House Republicans have argued that President Obama’s attempts to lower the number of detainees as an attempt at closure “by attrition,” trying to get the number of detainees left so low that no one could effectively argue that they need to keep the base open.

President Obama campaigned in 2008 on a plan to close the base, and after taking office promised to have the site closed outright by the end of 2009. This obviously never happened, and the president more or less sat on his hands for several years, before starting to make a few transfers over the past year, claiming he still thought he’d get it done even though it was clearly not going to happen before the end of his term in office.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.