Dem pushes to close Gitmo by 2016

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) on Wednesday urged for adoption of his amendment to the defense authorization that would create a framework to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by 2016.

The House will vote on Smith's amendment Thursday morning.

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"This is the amendment that will enable us to eventually lose the Guantanamo Bay prison," Smith said.

Smith said that the prison is "simply an international eyesore that we keep open for no reason." He argued that the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay could be transferred to prisons in the U.S.

"There is no need for Guantanamo," Smith said. "We have the ability to safely hold these people in the United States of America."

But Republicans said that international terrorists should be held in a prison outside the U.S.

"Guantanamo Bay is safe and the most appropriate location for detainees to be held," said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio). 

"Members of Congress routinely visit Guantanamo Bay and they've seen the humane conditions in which dangerous detainees are held," Wenstrup said.

The White House issued a statement in support of Smith's amendment. President Obama originally vowed to close the Guantanamo Bay prison when he first took office in 2009, but has so far been unable to do so.

"This needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions and enables the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "By eliminating unwarranted and burdensome restrictions relating to the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, his amendment would further our efforts to move past this chapter in U.S. history."