Ryan: Obama can't unilaterally close Gitmo

Ryan: Obama can't unilaterally close Gitmo
© Greg Nash

President Obama doesn’t have the constitutional authority to unilaterally close the military prison housing terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, new Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBiden's relationship with top House Republican is frosty The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Budowsky: Liz Cheney vs. conservatives in name only MORE (R-Wis.) said Tuesday.

“He can’t. He doesn’t have the authority to do it. It’s just that clear,” Ryan said in an interview on Bloomberg TV’s “With All Due Respect” in Milwaukee before the GOP presidential debate.


The major defense policy bill, passed by the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, bars the Obama administration from transferring detainees from Guantanamo to U.S. soil. But the White House has refused to rule out using executive action to shutter the prison in Cuba.

The “language is very clear that he can’t transfer the prisoners,” Ryan said, “and this is language that was put in the defense bill when [Democrats] ran Congress in the early part of the Obama administration."

“The law is the law; it’s just that clear,” he added.

Later in the interview, Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, said he’s staying neutral in the 2016 primary. But the Speaker said he was fine if the eventual nominee is someone like Ben Carson who has never been elected to public office before.

“There are lots of different kinds of experiences a person can bring to the table to show leadership,” Ryan said. “You don't have to be elected in government as a governor or a senator or a congressman to be an excellent president.

"The point I would make is, the action is on the Republican side. I think the energy is on our side of the aisle, and we have great candidates putting ideas out there ... specifics, ideas, solutions."