House Minority Leader John Boehner said that Republicans will attempt to force Democratic leaders to hold a vote on a bill that would ban Guantanamo Bay detainees from being transferred to the United States.
Boehner revealed on Tuesday morning that the minority party was going to file a discharge petition with the intention of gathering the 218 signatures needed to force Democrats to hold a vote on the GOP’s "Keep Terrorists Out of America Act.”
The issue of detainee transfer took on renewed importance this week after Attorney General Eric Holder announced last Friday the Justice Department’s intention to prosecute alleged plotters of the Sept. 11th attacks in civilian court in New York City.
Holder's announcement was met with fierce resistance by Republicans and even New York’s Democratic governor David Patterson.
Boehner's "Keep Terrorists Out of America Act" would place stringent restrictions and requirements on the administration before transferring any terror suspects from GITMO to the U.S.
Boehner pressed his colleagues to support the bill when GOP leaders introduced it in mid-May, when the administration had officially requested funds to close Guantanamo Bay naval detention center in Cuba.
At that time Congress balked and passed a bill that required the administration provide a plan as to what they would do with the more than 200 enemy combatants held at the notorious military detention center.
And on Tuesday morning, Boehner encouraged all GOP House members to sign the discharge petition, according to lawmakers participating at the closed-door GOP conference meeting.
Following the meeting he questioned the Obama administration's plan to fight terrorism, especially in light of Holder's announcement Friday to bring at least five top-tier terror suspects to the U.S. for trial instead of keeping them at GITMO with military tribunals.
“To allow those people to come to the United States is one issue. Secondly, for them to be given the rights of U.S. citizens, I think is just awful. It really begs the question of, what is the administration’s overarching strategy to fight the terrorists and to keep Americans safe? We haven’t seen that overarching strategy yet and I hope we see it soon,” Boehner told reporters.