House Passes Bipartisan Walorski Bill to Stop Gitmo Transfers
H.R. 5351 Blocks Guantanamo Bay Detainee Transfers Until New Safeguards in Place or End of President’s Term
Vote Comes Day After Administration Reported Two More Former Gitmo Detainees Reengaged in Terrorist Activities
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today released the following statement after her bill to temporarily block all Guantanamo Bay detainee transfers passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 244 to 174:
“After the latest report that two more former Guantanamo Bay detainees have returned to the fight, it is more critical than ever that we put the safety and security of the American people first. The administration has made clear it intends to transfer as many terrorist detainees as possible from Gitmo before the president leaves office in order to fulfill a misguided campaign promise. This is reckless, and it puts American lives at risk. Today a bipartisan majority put our national security ahead of politics, voting to pass my bill to pause Gitmo detainee transfers until new safeguards are in place or the president’s term ends.”
H.R. 5351, which suspends detainee transfers until the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017 is signed into law or until the president’s term in office ends.
Congresswoman Walorski earlier spoke on the House floor about the importance of the legislation. Video of her remarks is available here.
Passage of the bill came a day after the administration reported two more former Gitmo detainees have returned to the fight. The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found 30 percent of all former detainees are known or suspected to have reengaged in terrorist activities.
The House-passed NDAA included a provision Walorski authored to require written agreements between the U.S. and the government of any foreign country that agrees to accept detainees. It also would require the next administration to provide Congress with a comprehensive detention plan outlining how the release of any Gitmo detainee fits into the broader strategy for handling individuals detained during wartime.
Last week, President Obama reiterated his intention to continue releasing Gitmo detainees in order to pave the way for the facility’s closure. Forty-four detainees have been transferred this year, including 15 sent to the United Arab Emirates on a single transfer last month. Out of 61 detainees that remain in Gitmo, 20 have been cleared for transfer.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.