Both Parties Press Obama for Gitmo Plan

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Democrats are now joining Republicans and questioning President Obama's strategy for shutting down Guantanamo Bay.

The Senate voted 90-6 to deny money for closing the military prison.

Lawmakers from both parties first want to know what the president plans to do with the detainees.

The president now finds himself with few allies when it comes to funding his executive order to close Guantanmo.
In fact, most of the opposition is coming from his own party.

Shortly after declaring war on terror, the U.S. military opened a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with the purpose of detaining some of the world's most dangerous terror suspects.

Wednesday, the Senate voted to give the controversial prison what appears to be an indefinite lifeline by setting up a roadblock for the president's executive order to close Gitmo by next year.

Democrats and Republicans alike say they will not support shutting down the facility without first getting a detailed plan.

"Where are they going to be? How are they going to be imprisoned? How are they going to be tried and what are the rules regarding their release?" Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked. "Until that is done, I think it is a mistake to talk about closing Guantanamo Bay."

The vote mirrors steps taken in the House last week, putting the White House plan in jeopardy.

Last month, the administration requested $80 million to pay for relocating the 240 detainees currently at Guantanamo.

The administration also wants to send many of them overseas.

"We obviously are very hopeful that a number of nations will assist us in delivering on the president's commitment to close Guantanamo," secretary of state Hillary Clinton said. "And that will require the release and placement of a number of detainees."

But convincing other governments to take them becomes trickier if they cannot be transported to the U.S. to be imprisoned or tried.

Bringing terror suspects on American soil is a widely unpopular idea.

Even as the vote came down, the head of the FBI voiced concerns that terrorists could run finances and radicalize other inmates if they were transferred to maximum security prisons in the homeland.

The president is set to deliver a speech Thursday that his White House press secretary says will lay out the framework of his plan.

Obama hopes his speech will be enough to convince the Democratically-controlled Congress to come on board and authorize the money to pay for his plan.

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at