Republican Senators Push to Restrict Guantanamo Transfers

The proposed amendment poses the latest challenge to the president’s wish to close the facility.

PERRY, GA - DECEMBER 1:   U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) talks with supporters as he campaigns on December 1, 2008 in Perry, Georgia. Chambliss is up against Democrat Jim Martin in a runoff election for the U.S. Senate seat tomorrow.  (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Jordain Carney
Nov. 14, 2013, 11:51 a.m.

Sen. Saxby Cham­b­liss, R-Ga., told The Hill on Thursday that he is work­ing with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., to re­strict the trans­fer of Guantanamo Bay de­tain­ees to Ye­men.

The two sen­at­ors are hop­ing to have their amend­ment in­cluded in the Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act, which is ex­pec­ted to be brought to the Sen­ate floor next week. It would re­move pro­vi­sions cur­rently in the le­gis­la­tion that would ease re­stric­tions on trans­fers of Ye­meni de­tain­ees back to their home coun­try.

The amend­ment, if ul­ti­mately ap­proved, could be prob­lem­at­ic for the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, which in late May an­nounced that it was lift­ing a 2010 ban on trans­fer­ring Ye­meni de­tain­ees back to Ye­men. Of the ap­prox­im­ately 86 de­tain­ees that had been ap­proved for trans­fer pri­or to the pres­id­ent’s speech, 56 are from Ye­men. It would also com­plic­ate the pres­id­ent’s long-stated goal of clos­ing the pris­on. The ad­min­is­tra­tion has faced a myri­ad of chal­lenges—ran­ging from leg­al and polit­ic­al hurdles to na­tion­al se­cur­ity con­cerns—on how to ac­com­plish the task.

The House passed its ver­sion of the De­fense bill over the sum­mer, and it in­cludes the re­stric­tions on trans­fers. Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Carl Lev­in, D-Mich., said he be­lieves any Guantanamo-re­lated amend­ment will need to get 60 votes to pass.

Cham­b­liss and Ayotte have pre­vi­ously said they sup­port keep­ing Guantanamo open.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.