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 GardnerEleven interesting races to watch in 2022 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Gun control group alleges campaign finance violations in lawsuit against NRA MORE (Colo.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court allows lawsuits against Texas abortion ban Rapper French Montana talks opioid epidemic, immigration on Capitol Hill MORE (S.C.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsBiden remembers Dole as 'master of the Senate' at National Cathedral Bob Dole: heroic, prickly and effective McConnell gets GOP wake-up call 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.