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Public Statements

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2009 -- (House of Representatives - May 14, 2009)

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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, one of the smartest things that the President did once elected and all the campaign rhetoric was out of the way, he went ahead and continued the Bush-Cheney policy in the Middle East, primarily by reappointing Secretary of Defense Gates and recognizing that the surge, in fact, worked, basically kept the plans for Iraq and Afghanistan on track, including a new surge in Afghanistan.

There was one sharp deviation from the Bush doctrine that Mr. Obama did not choose to follow, and that was his idea of closing Guantanamo even though the Guantanamo prison has proved to be effective. And we had lots of testimony from people who are in the military and security that these very bad actors need to stay in an island off continental America. That's why we Republicans in committee offered the Wolf amendment that says that if you're going to transfer the Guantanamo prisoners, that we should have the Nation's governors approve the transfers to their States before it happens.

Also that a threat assessment should be done. Now to their credit, the majority party did put in some language that says the President shall submit to Congress in writing a comprehensive plan before October 1, and we're happy about that. But what this plan does not do, it does not require a risk assessment.

Releasing the detainees to American soils could cause problems, and we would also like to see the security assessment include what its impact could be on the safety of American citizens. Also it does not require notification to Congress, governors, State legislators or local communities. We believe that much courtesy should be done. And it does not require the consent of the State governor.

Why is that important? It's interesting to note that when the President was recently in Europe, trying to ask them to take some of the Guantanamo prisoners, they all declined. All the European, all the EU countries want us to close it, but they won't take any of these prisoners. What does that say?

Mr. OBEY. I yield 2 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Moran).

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