House votes to block Gitmo transfers to Yemen

The House on Thursday adopted a proposal to ban transfers of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison to Yemen.

Rep. Jackie Walorski's (R-Ind.) amendment to the 2015 Defense appropriations bill, approved 238-179, would prohibit the use of funds to transfer or release detainees to Yemen.

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Walorksi said it would threaten U.S. national security to release detainees to that country, which is a haven to many anti-American terrorists.

"The recent release of the Taliban Five was a potent reminder to the American people and Congress of the risk involved in detainee transfer decisions," Walorksi said.

"The security situation in Yemen is fragile and has gone from bad to worse," Walorski added. "This helps ensure our homeland is safe from terrorists."

Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), the top Democrat on the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, argued that Congress should instead take steps to close the facility instead of indefinitely keeping prisoners there. 

"I believe that we need to set conditions to close the detention facility at Guantánamo," Visclosky said. "This includes retaining the option to transfer detainees from this facility elsewhere. ... It is in the U.S.'s national security interest to do so."

Walorski's amendment was debated for eight minutes Wednesday evening around 7:45 p.m. Passage of the Defense appropriations bill is expected late Thursday night. 

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