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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

The Plan to Close Guantanamo Bay

2016 April 21

By Kyler Beaty, Legislative Research Intern

For years, the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, located in Cuba, has been used by the United States government to house potential threats to national security. Throughout its existence, it has been met with numerous accusations, scandals, and an ongoing debate over alleged human rights violations. Recently, President Barack Obama proposed a plan to effectively shut down the facility.

This type of plan has been proposed before; however, it never seems to pass through the many stages of the law-making process. In May 2007, H Amdt 197 was introduced that would amend HB 1585 and require the Secretary of Defense at the time to submit a detailed plan within sixty days to shut down the facility. This amendment was added to HR 1585, the “National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2008”, which was eventually vetoed by President George W. Bush.

In 2014, H Amdt 901 and H Amdt 905 were adopted by the House of Representatives that prohibited funds from HR 4870, the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015”, from being used to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to foreign countries, including the Republic of Yemen. HR 2029, the Omnibus Appropriations Act, also prohibited funds from being used to transfer or release individuals that are detained in Guantanamo Bay facilities.

Now, President Obama is attempting to close down the facility once again with a plan that he presented in a speech on February 23. In the speech, he outlines a plan to use the Article III federal courts in order ...

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Polarization of the Supreme Court Vacancy

2016 April 13

 On February 13, 2016, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. According to the United State Constitution, the president-elect is responsible for nominating the replacement justice, and the Senate is then responsible for confirming or denying that nomination; however, some politicians are calling for President Barack Obama to abstain from the nomination, leaving 8 justices to make judicial decisions for almost a year.

Can Someone Please Tell Me What is Happening?

2016 March 31 - Richard Kimball

 Our political culture is shifting course on a galactic scale right in front of our slackened jaws. Its destination unknown?

Presidential Foreign Policies

2016 March 30

 ..foreign policy has become one of the main focuses of the election cycle. Each presidential candidate has their own take on foreign policy and America's role in the Middle East right now.

Bathroom bills bearing down on states across America

2016 March 11

 Emerging onto the floor of numerous state legislatures across the United States of America is a new and divisive kind of legislation: “bathroom bills.” Bathroom bills are proposed legislation that address whether individuals may use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they identify with or with the gender they were assigned at birth. 

Everything You May Have Missed: Political Wrap-Up 2015

2015 December 21 - Melisa Oberti

 Check out the key political events from 2015! Our Political Wrap Up is here so that you can reflect on topics ranging from the 2016 Presidential debates to major Senate and House bills.

Common Ground e-Newsletter: December 2015

2015 December 14 - Melisa Oberti

Our Intentions are Clear

2015 December 09 - Melisa Oberti

 Vote Smart's intentions are clear. We don't accept money from special interest groups or lobbyists. We only accept money from our members, foundations, and our API subscribers!

Common Ground e-Newsletter: November 2015

2015 November 05 - Melisa Oberti

Sign Up for our monthly e-Newsletter here.

Vote Smart Live-Tweeted the Republican Primary Debate on CNBC

2015 October 29 - John Eisenstein

Did you miss our Live-Tweet event for the Republican Debate? You can get a recap of all we did here!

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