(Washington Times) Congress on Wednesday signaled it won't close the prison at Guantanamo Bay or allow any of its suspected terrorist detainees to be transferred to the U.S., dealing what is likely the final blow to President Obama's campaign pledge to shutter the facility in Cuba.
The move to block the prison's closure was written into a massive year-end spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday evening on a vote of 212-206, part of a last-minute legislative rush by Democrats to push through their priorities before ceding the House to Republican control in January.
News of the Guantanamo provision brought a quick and sharp rebuke from the Obama administration Wednesday.
Current law allows the Justice Department to bring detainees to the U.S. for trial as long as the Justice Department gives Congress 45 days notice of the transfer.
The spending bill, which includes wide-ranging new regulations on food safety and shifts money to Democratic priorities, even as it also blocks the Guantanamo Bay transfers, is already two months overdue as Democrats have struggled to find ways to balance their policy preferences with the deteriorating fiscal condition of the government.
The spending bill freezes 2011 funding at the same level as 2010, or $1.09 trillion, which is less than Mr. Obama requested, but still more than Republicans wanted.