GOP senator blocks Obama Army nominee over Guantanamo
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Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes Window quickly closing for big coronavirus deal Trump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback MORE (R-Kansas) blocked the Senate from confirming Eric Fanning, President Obama's nominee to lead the Army, part of a long-running feud with the administration over Guantanamo Bay.

"I will be more than happy to vote for Mr. Fanning once the White House addresses my concerns regarding the president's efforts to move Guantanamo Bay terrorist detainees to the mainland with Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the intellectual center of the Army, very high on the list," he said.


His move came after Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOn The Money: GOP digs in on defending Trump tax cuts | Democrats bullish on raising minimum wage | Financial sector braces for Biden's consumer bureau pick No. 2 Senate Democrat says minimum wage can be increased with simple majority vote State-level Republicans wracked by division after Trump's loss MORE (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, tried to get consent to confirm Fanning, who's nomination has remained in limbo for months.

Roberts, however, said that while he had spoken with the White House earlier Thursday to try to get a resolution that would allow Fanning's nomination to move forward they "simply would not give me that assurance."

McCain fired back that Roberts' hold on Fanning over moving detainees into the United States amounted to "shooting a hostage.... that has nothing to do with the decision making process."

"As we have the last several years, we will prohibit the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo until the president of the United States comes forward with a plan that is approved by the Senate," he added.

The Obama administration submitted a plan to Congress earlier this year to build momentum for its effort to close Guantanamo Bay before the president leaves office early next year. That plan would have brought remaining detainees to a facility in the U.S.

But Republicans quickly dismissed the plan. Instead, GOP lawmakers are planning to use an annual defense policy bill to lock in the current restrictions moving detainees out of the facility.

McCain noted that the Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which he expects to be on the floor at the end of May, will include a ban on transferring detainees into the United States.

The policy bill, if signed by the president, would lock in restrictions that would effectively undercut his ability to close Guantanamo.

McCain's panel approved Fanning's nomination in March. If confirmed, he would be the first openly gay secretary of a U.S. military branch.