President Barack Obama’s 5-year-old campaign to close the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, suffered a major setback as lawmakers finalizing the annual defense policy bill rejected steps toward shuttering the facility.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told reporters on Monday that the final bill omits a provision giving the president the authority to transfer terror suspects to the United States if Congress signs off on a comprehensive plan to close the prison.
Levin had pushed for the authority and hailed it in May as creating “a path to close Guantanamo.” With lawmakers rushing to complete the defense bill in this month’s lame-duck session, Levin said proponents were unable to prevail.
“Our language … (on Guantanamo) … will not be in,” Levin said.
The House and Senate are expected to vote and overwhelmingly approve the sweeping policy bill in the coming days, sending it to Obama.
This, as much as anything, is emblematic of the Obama era and his approach to governing. Giant, lofty promise accompanied by moral condemnation of anyone who disagrees with his lofty promise, which of course embodies “who we are” as Americans. Little to no plan for achieving this goal. Continued condemnation of those who have not accomplished stated goal, of which the president is now ironically one. Little to no engagement in achieving this goal. Five years later, goal remains unaccomplished.
What now, President YOLO?