Once again Democrats tried to get a bill passed in the House of Representatives to fund an expansion of U.S. prisons in order to house terror suspects in the U.S. heartland instead of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As in years previous, however, the measure was defeated.
On June 4 the House shot down an amendment introduced by Representative Jim Moran (D, Vir.) to the military construction spending bill (H.R. 2216) that would have allowed the move.
Moran’s amendment would have struck out language that prevented the construction funds from going to any U.S. prison in order to house detainees now housed at Guantanamo. Moran insisted that the “best place” for accused terrorists is right here in the United States.
“The best place for them to be housed and then tried is in the United States,” Rep. Moran said. “The continuance of the Guantánamo Bay facility represents an immediate security threat to the United States because it is a rallying cry and a recruitment tool for our enemy.”
Moran’s amendment went down to defeat in a 170-254 vote. Every Republican except one voted against the amendment and the Democrats voted 169-25 in favor.
Bills or amendments to bills that would allow terror detainees to be housed in the heartland in U.S. prisons have been defeated several times in the past.
In 2009 the Obama administration floated the idea that detainees could be housed in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in Michigan, or an empty SuperMax prison in Illinois. But the idea was not looked upon favorably by Congress and never went anywhere.
At that time, even Democrat Senate Majority leader Harry Reid spoke out against housing terror detainees inside the U.S.
The Illinois prison plan was shot down by Congress in 2010.
Later, in November of 2012, the Senate approved a measure to prevent transfer of terrorist detainees into the U.S.
But a report issued by Senator Dianne Feinstein noted that U.S. prisons can handle an influx of terror suspects and pointed out that there are already 373 terror suspects in 98 different U.S. prisons now.
Support for expanding the influx of terror suspects, though, has never materialized.
Obama has struggled with concocting a way to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and has made no solid effort to do so despite making it one of his campaign promises way back in 2008.