The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a bill, H.R. 5351, that would prohibit federal funds from being used to transfer any detainee held at Guantanamo Bay to the United States, its territories, or foreign countries.
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) was the only member of South Carolina's U.S. House delegation to oppose the bill.
“According to the Director of National Intelligence, nearly one-third of detainees currently or formerly held at Guantanamo Bay are suspected or confirmed of re-engaging in terrorism,” wrote Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) in his congressional e-newsletter last week. “While the president is risking our national security to fulfill campaign promises he never should have made, Congress will continue to put our national security first.”
Sen. Tim Scott praised his House colleagues for passing the bill.
Sen. Scott, who is a co-sponsor of a companion bill in the Senate (S. 2999), noted that President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence recently “acknowledged more released Guantanamo detainees have returned to the fight by rejoining Islamic militant groups.”
“The White House has continued to ignore common sense and what’s best for our national security in order to try and keep a decade old campaign promise,” said Sen. Scott. “I applaud my colleagues in the House for passing legislation that bars the transfer of any detainee from Guantanamo Bay. The White House might be ok with putting American lives at risk to keep their campaign promise, but I am not and will never be."
The legislation has implications for South Carolina, since the Consolidated Naval Brig in Hanahan, SC is reportedly one of the sites being considered by the Obama Administration for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. mainland.
One national security expert said he agrees with Sen. Scott’s efforts to prevent the detainee transfers.
"Obama's stubborn ideological crusade to close Gitmo should concern all Americans," said West Point grad and Army veteran Doug Truax, founder of the national security-oriented Restoration PAC. "A significant percentage of the most dangerous terrorists in the world already have been returned to the battlefield and others could be moved to states like South Carolina. Nobody is in favor of this foolish policy except Obama and his hard-left allies."
S. 2999 has been referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.