House GOP bill would freeze Gitmo transfers

House GOP bill would freeze Gitmo transfers
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A Republican congresswoman introduced a bill Monday afternoon that would halt the transfer of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to foreign countries and permanently bar transfers to the United States.

“Reports indicate a terrifying number of released prisoners returning to the battlefield,” Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) said in written statement. “There can be no justification for releasing militants who could potentially endanger American lives.”

Under the bill, transfers abroad would be halted until Sept. 30, 2017.

On recidivism, Republicans point to a 30 percent figure that represents detainees released by Presidents George W. Bush and Obama who are confirmed or suspected of re-engaging in terrorism.

Administration officials, meanwhile, highlight a 4.9 percent figure that represents the number of detainees released by Obama confirmed to be re-engaging in terrorism. Another 8 percent released by Obama are suspected of re-engaging.

Jenkins’s bill would also make permanent current bans on transfers to the United States or using funding to build or modify a facility in the United States, both of which are part of the National Defense Authorization Act and expire annually.

Closing the naval base at Guantánamo would be permanently prohibited, as well.

A Senate version of the bill was introduced last week by Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteKey endorsements: A who's who in early states Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race New Hampshire senator to ask 2020 Dems to back repeal of state residency law MORE (R-N.H.).

Ayotte’s bill was introduced a day after the Pentagon announced the transfer of two detainees to Senegal.

There are now 89 detainees left at the facility.

Earlier this year, President Obama unveiled a plan to close the facility in a last-ditch effort to fulfill a promise from his first presidential campaign. The plan would include transferring some to foreign countries, prosecuting some and bringing the rest to a facility in the United States.

Republicans declared the plan dead on arrival.

“Our nation cannot afford to politicize national security,” Jenkins said. “There has been consistent bipartisan opposition to the president’s proposal to close Guantanamo Bay and transfer the prisoners to America. The risks of the move are simply too great. That’s why I introduced legislation to prevent further time being spent on an issue where the American people have already made their definitive opinion clear.”