October 15, 2009
House Passes Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Report – Democrats Again Vote to Allow Guantanamo Terrorists to be Transferred to the U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House today voted to approve the fiscal year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations conference report – the final legislation to fund various homeland security activities throughout the next year. The bill includes $42.8 billion in total funding – which is $2.5 billion or 6.1% above last year’s level.
The legislation also contains provisions relating to the transfer and release of Guantanamo Bay detainees, including prohibitions on the release of detainees into the U.S. However, the report specifically allows Guantanamo detainees to be transferred onto U.S. soil for prosecution – a provision that both the U.S. House and Senate have previously voted overwhelmingly to oppose. House Republicans offered a motion on the Floor today to send the conference report back to committee so the provision allowing the transfers could be stripped out of the legislation, but they were defeated by the Democrat majority.
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis voted to oppose the conference report, expressing his support for funding in the bill for various security operations and programs, but denouncing the provision permitting the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S.
“The Democrat majority today has turned a blind eye to the dangers that these prisoners of war pose to the American people. They have voted to ignore the will of the House, the Senate, and the public and move these dangerous insurgents onto American soil without regard for the risks to our communities. These detainees are enemies of the state, and should be treated as such by being held and brought to justice right where they are – in Guantanamo Bay,” Lewis said.
Lewis also expressed his disappointment with Democrats in the House who changed their vote on the Guantanamo transfer provision. Two weeks ago, virtually the same motion passed overwhelmingly in the House, with 88 Democrats voting in favor. Today, 59 Democrats who previously supported striping the provision switched their votes and voted to allow the transfers.
“Preventing the risks that these dangerous terrorists could place on our communities should be a common goal. It is unfortunate that many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle – who previously voted to prevent these detainees from coming to the U.S. for any reason – have now flipped their votes and have opposed a provision that would do just that,” Lewis said.