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Providing for the Consideration of H.R. 1960, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014; and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1256, Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CASTRO of Texas. I thank my friend, Mr. McGovern, for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Continued operation of the facility at Guantanamo weakens U.S. national security, wastes resources, damages our relationships with key allies, and reinforces anti-American propaganda led by groups like al Qaeda to recruit new enemies against the United States.

In a time of war, the Commander in Chief must have the flexibility to execute important foreign policy and national security determinations. This includes how to treat detainees captured on the battlefield. The Commander in Chief having this authority is not a new concept to this Congress. In fact, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from Gitmo with Congress' support. Restrictions placed by Congress to prevent this President from making these decisions are not prudent.

In addition to foreign policy and national security consideration, the facility at Guantanamo is also a waste of scarce resources. DOD estimates that the cost to run Guantanamo Bay is around $150 million a year. In a time when we're making sequestration cuts to programs here at home, we're spending approximately $1 million per detainee each year. This makes Guantanamo Bay literally the most expensive detention facility in the world.

I urge my colleagues to give the President the flexibility he needs to operate Guantanamo Bay.

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