H.R. 5351, To prohibit the transfer of any individual detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

H.R. 5351

To prohibit the transfer of any individual detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Committee
Armed Services

Date
September 15, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Thursday, September 15, 2016, the House will begin consideration of H.R. 5351, to prohibit the transfer of any individual detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under a closed rule. H.R. 5351 was introduced on May 26, 2016, by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), and was referred to the House Armed Services Committee.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5351 temporarily prohibits any funds from being used to transfer or release an individual detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the United States or a foreign country until the end of the year or enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017.

Background

The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The Camp has served as a detention facility in the Global War on Terror since 2002. The total number of detainees incarcerated at Guantanamo is 780. Currently, there are 61.[1]

During this Administration, 177 detainees have been transferred, repatriated, or resettled. Under current law, the Administration must inform Congress at least 30 days before a transfer can take place, confirming security conditions in a foreign country are adequate.[2]

The President has repeatedly stated his desire to close the facility by transferring the remaining detainees to the United States or through additional transfer agreements with other countries. On multiple occasions and in bipartisan fashion, Congress passed legislation barring the transfer of detainees to American soil. Most recently, the House voted on an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 on June 15, 2016 to prevent detainees from being transferred to U.S. prisons. Similar language was also included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which the House passed in May.

According to the bill’s sponsor, “The administration is recklessly accelerating its release of dangerous terrorists in order to fulfill the president’s misguided promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.There are critical provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act the House just passed to prohibit the administration from bringing terrorists to U.S. soil and closing Gitmo, but we cannot afford to wait for that bill to become law. It is time for an immediate pause on transfers so Americans at home and abroad are not put at greater risk by released detainees returning to terrorism.”[3]

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[1] See http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/us/politics/guantanamo-detainees-emirates-transfer.html?_r=0
[2] Id.
[3] See Rep. Walorski’s press release, “Walorski, Daines Introduce Bill to Temporarily Stop Gitmo Transfers” May 26, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently not available.

Amendments

The rule provides that the amendment printed in part A of the Rules Committee report shall be considered as adopted. The amendment, offered by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) revises the date in section 1 of the bill from January 1, 2017 to January 21, 2017.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.