On June 24, 2007, while on the Presidential campaign trail, Illinois Senator Barack Obama stated to a crowd in Texas, “We’re going to close Guantanamo. And we’re going to restore habeas corpus.” Now President Barack Obama is trying to honor that promise.
One way President Barack Obama could close Guantanamo Bay is by vetoing the annual defense spending bill. The 113th Congress drafted Senate Bill 2410, known as the “Carl Levin National Defense Authorization Act” for Fiscal Year 2015. The National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision which prohibits the President of the United States from transferring the remaining 149 detainees to the U.S.
The provision reads:
SEC. 1031.LIMITATION ON THE TRANSFER OR RELEASE OF INDIVIDUALS DETAINED AT UNITED STATES NATIONAL STATION, GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA.
(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (b), none of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act for fiscal year 2015 may be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States, its territories, or possessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other detainee who–
(1) is not a United States citizen or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States; and
(2) is or was held on or after January 20, 2009, at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the Department of Defense.
(b) Transfer for Detention and Trial- The Secretary of Defense may transfer a detainee described in subsection (a) to the United States for detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40), trial, and incarceration if the Secretary–
(1) determines that the transfer is in the national security interest of the United States;
(2) determines that appropriate actions have been taken, or will be taken, to address any risk to public safety that could arise in connection with detention and trial in the United States; and
(3) notifies the appropriate committees of Congress not later than 30 days before the date of the proposed transfer.
If President Barack Obama vetoed the legislation though, Congress could override the veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses, whereupon the legislation would become law. (more…)