Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRedistricting reform key to achieving the bipartisanship Americans claim to want Kelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE (R-Ariz.) says he hasn’t “heard a word” from the Obama administration about a plan to shutter the U.S. prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
He said President Obama asked him in May to visit the White House to discuss the future of the controversial detention facility.
“I said, ‘Okay, give me a plan. Give me a plan, okay?’ Three days later, both [Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and White House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco] came to my office and sat there and said, ‘Okay, we’ll get you a plan,’” McCain told reporters Thursday.
“I have not heard a word since,” the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman added.
McCain is neck-deep in negotiations with House lawmakers over the annual defense policy.
The Senate draft gives the administration a path to close the controversial facility but only if it can win congressional approval.
Meanwhile, The House version of the bill explicitly prohibits the prison's closure.
“I’m trying to address the issue of Guantánamo on the defense authorization bill and we haven’t heard a word,” McCain said. “What happened? They haven’t even bothered to give me an explanation as to why they are not giving me the plan.”
He said the lack of a strategy from the White House “makes it harder for me to negotiate” a final version of the massive policy bill.
The president threatened to veto the Senate measure, describing the process for winning congressional approval of closing Guantánamo as “unnecessary and overly restrictive.”
The president pledged during his campaign to close the detention facility in his first week in office. But Obama has met stiff resistance on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have passed multiple laws to block him from doing so.
Last month, Carter expressed serious doubt that the prison could be shuttered before Obama leaves office.