WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) returned tonight from a day long, bipartisan Congressional Delegation (CODEL) to the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Members of the CODEL observed detention operations, received an intelligence overview and toured specific areas of the detention facility. The trip also included meetings with the commander and deputy commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and other personnel at the detention facility.
The eight-member delegation was led by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), and included Rep. Peter Aguilar (CA-31), Rep. Gwen Graham (FL-02) Rep. Tom MacArthur (NJ-03), and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-06) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“I want to thank Rep. Hartzler for leading this trip and giving me an opportunity to better understand the facility and speak with our troops on the base,” said Walorski. “These brave men and women stand guard, protect our country, and risk their lives to keep our country safe. This visit reaffirmed my commitment to ensure we prevent Guantanamo detainees from returning to fight against the U.S and our allies.”
Earlier this year, Walorski introduced H.R. 401, the Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act of 2015, companion legislation to a Senate bill introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), to suspend the transfer of high and medium risk detainees and prohibit any detainee transfers to Yemen, as well as increase transparency regarding the remaining Guantánamo detainees.
“With President Obama renewing his push to release the remaining terrorists and close Guantanamo, today was an opportunity for my colleagues and I to sit down with leaders and the Administration to debate and discuss their future,” said Walorski. “In order to protect our national security, we must stop releasing some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, especially given the risk that they could re-engage in hostilities against the U.S.”
As part of the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2397), the House passed an amendment offered by Walorski to prohibit funds for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen. Walorski also responded in 2013 to the president’s decision to lift the ban on releasing Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Yemen.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.