The House took aim at President Obama’s efforts to winnow the population of detainees at Guantanamo on Wednesday, approving a measure that would prohibit him from releasing any of the remaining prisoners at the prison camp.
The measure goes beyond what Republicans have routinely sought to keep the administration from moving Guantanamo detainees to the United States.
Instead, the proposal would prevent the Obama administration from using any funds to release Guantanamo detainees to any destination, even a third-party country — effectively freezing the detainee population at current levels.
It is unclear if the measure could earn the Senate’s support. The White House has already recommended that Obama veto the defense policy bill over a variety of concerns, including how it allocates war funds and its restrictions on planning for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to U.S. facilities.
President Obama has been pressing Congress to help him close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay since he came to the White House, and a major part of that effort has been focused on transferring detainees to third-party countries.
Just under 700 detainees have been released since the facility opened in 2002; as of earlier this month, there were 80 detainees at the facility, 28 of whom were slated for transfers the administration hopes to complete this summer.
But there have been concerns about recidivism with detainees released to other countries. Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that Pentagon officials believe at least 12 former detainees released during the Bush administration had launched attacks against the U.S. and its allies, killing at least six Americans.