Pres. Obama has been calling for more bipartisanship, so this should warm the cockles of his heart:
Congressional Democrats are increasingly concerned about the President’s plan to bring Guantanamo detainees to the United States for trial, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation Tuesday to block it.
Eighteen senators, including two Democrats and one Independent, unveiled a bill Tuesday to withhold funding the President requested to try terror suspects in civilian courts.
You probably guessed that the Independent is Joe Lieberman (not Bernie Sanders). The Democrats are the embattled Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Jim Webb (Va.), who witnessed the GOP wave in his state last November. Virginia was also the trial site for “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui. But to be fair, Webb’s concerns seem to go a bit deeper than local politics:
Webb said today that the US should not be the criminal court for the world and argued government plans to permanently incarcerate some GTMO detainees it does not feel comfortable trying would create legal issues in the civilian court system.
“Confuses place with process,” Webb said. “The Issue is not Guantanamo Bay.”
Lincoln and Webb have gone all the way into opposition, but CNN makes clear there are more Democrats dissenting behind closed doors:
Democratic sources said the way Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown successfully used this issue against his Democratic opponent in last month’s Massachusetts Senate race has spooked some congressional Democrats.
In fact the Senate’s number two Democrat, Dick Durbin D-Illinois, who supports trying detainees in civilian courts, told CNN that Senate Democrats had a spirited conversation about the issue during Tuesday’s policy lunch.
“It’s controversial, there is no question about it,” said Durbin.
Bob Casey and Evan Bayh sound disgruntled in particular. Meanwhile, on the other side of Capitol Hill:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he agrees that the Obama administration should reassess the plan to move terrorist suspects from the Cuba military base to Thomson Correctional Facility in the state’s northwest corner.
Entering an election year, it seems that nervous Democrats would like to put some distance between themselves and terror detainees… and the president’s law-enforcement approach to processing them.