Pentagon: Plan to close Gitmo 'very close'

Pentagon: Plan to close Gitmo 'very close'
© Getty Images

A Pentagon plan to close the Guantanamo Bay military detention facility "is very close" to being delivered to Congress, a Defense Department spokesman said Monday. 

The plan is expected to be delivered sometime this week, although Pentagon officials would not provide other details. It is expected to be released to the public at the same time. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The plan will provide several options for housing Guantanamo detainees in the U.S. It comes after months of research by a small Pentagon team, which assessed feasible options and costs in response to a Congressional request. 

"The team from [the Defense Department] has visited sites in South Carolina, Leavenworth, Kansas, as well as several sites in Colorado," Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said. 

Davis said the plan will also "address the issue of legislation change that's needed to proceed further." 

Legislative changes would not necessarily need to be in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate on Tuesday is expected to vote on that measure, which would extend restrictions on bringing detainees to the U.S. and add limits on transferring detainees to combat zones. 

The legislative changes could come in other vehicles in the future, if the plan were to be approved by Congress. 

"Clearly the Congress's help is needed in doing this. There are legislative restrictions that prevent us from taking certain actions to plan for the movement of detainees here," Davis said. 

"We're working very closely with them, understand that they need to be partners in this, but the president's goal remains to close the detention facility there and to end this chapter in our history," he added. 

However, any proposal from the Obama administration would likely face an uphill, if not impossible, battle in Congress. Republicans, including leadership in both chambers, are opposed to any plan that would move detainees into the United States. 

Republican Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum MORE (Colo.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottDemocrats worry Trump team will cherry-pick withheld documents during defense What to watch for on day 4 of the Senate impeachment trial GOP cries boredom in attack on impeachment case MORE (S.C.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump Senate GOP hopes to move new NAFTA deal before impeachment trial MORE (Kansas) have pledged to fight any moves to bring detainees to their states, including blocking presidential nominees.  

"I have gone through the process of identifying areas where we can place additional holds as well, including promotions," Scott told reporters during a conference call on Monday with reporters. 

There are currently 112 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay facility, with 53 eligible for transfer to other countries. The administration wants to bring the rest, who are not eligible for transfer, to a facility in the U.S.