US Senate blocks funding to close Guantanamo prisonMay 21st, 2009 - 12:53 am ICT by IANS
Washington, May 20 (DPA) The US Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to block President Barack Obama’s funding request to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and prohibited the transfer of any detainees to American soil.
The 90-6 vote was a setback to Obama’s plans to close the facility by January 2010 and relocate the 240 detainees currently at the camp, the US Navy base in Cuba. The Democrats joined Republicans in opposing Obama amid increasing opposition to the possibility some detainees could be jailed in the US.
Democrats said they will not restore the funding until Obama provides a more detailed plan for closing Guantanamo, which the president intends to outline in a national security speech Thursday in Washington.
The White House had conceded a day earlier that there should be a plan before Congress provides the $80 million requested in a $91-billion funding bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We agree with Congress that before resources, that they should receive a more detailed plan,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said the funding could be restored, noting that the war bill provides funding that only lasts through Sep 30.
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