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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at 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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