Senate Dems Block Funding to Close Guantánamo

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Harry Reid. Photo: Getty Images

Last night Democratic leaders in the Senate said they would strip $80 million from a war spending bill designated to cover the cost of closing the military prison at Guantánamo Bay. Until they hear a comprehensive plan on how to deal with all of the 240-odd prisoners remaining (some are already scheduled to be released or sent to foreign countries), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Obama won't get his funding. “Guantánamo makes us less safe,” he explained. “However, this is neither the time nor the bill to deal with this. Democrats under no circumstances will move forward without a comprehensive, responsible plan from the president. We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States.” Obama is expected to announce details of his plan at a press conference tomorrow where, Politico reports, he will also address other national security issues, like his recent reversal on military tribunals for Gitmo detainees, his decision not to release pictures of enhanced interrogation in action, and perhaps even the torture memos. Robert Gibbs, probably banking on Obama's ability to cool tempers and soothe fears, said he expected the Senate to eventually release the money and that the administration would still be able to meet its January 22, 2010 deadline for closing Guantánamo for good.

Democrats in Senate Block Money to Close Guantánamo [NYT]