House panel votes to keep Pentagon from funding Gitmo prisoner transfers

 

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to approve an amendment to its 2015 spending plan that prohibits the Defense Department from using funds to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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The measure, offered by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), the chairman of the committee’s Defense subpanel, was approved 33-13.

Frelinghuysen offered the amendment in response to the controversial prisoner trade that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban commanders.

Frelinghuysen said he was “angered at the lack of respect for the law” the Obama administration showed by not notifying members of Congress in advance of the swap, an increasingly common charge among GOP lawmakers.

He said that the White House violated the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill, which requires Congress to be notified 30 days in advance of any transfer.

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the panel's chairman, said the administration was “waving their thumb at us” and called the transfer “illegal.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) appeared to rise in opposition to the proposal, but was repeatedly ruled out of order by Rogers.

“This is outrageous,” DeLauro said.