Duncan NDAA Amendment on Guantanamo Bay

July 21, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03) released the following statement after House Democrats blocked his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 that would prevent funds from being used to transfer or release detainees at Guantanamo Bay to American soil:

“Naval Station Guantanamo Bay has long been the designated detention facility for the most dangerous enemy combatants captured by our United States Military. By housing these terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, we are keeping them far away from American citizens and out of our judicial system. Congress has long agreed with this policy, including restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees in several previous annual National Defense Authorization bills. However, in 2015, President Obama attempted to close the Guantanamo Bay facility and considered transferring detainees to various parts of the United States, including the Charleston Naval Brig in South Carolina. 

“The Obama Administration’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay and bring terrorists onto U.S. soil was not only shortsighted national security policy, but it had the potential to put South Carolinians at risk. While I do believe Donald Trump will win the 2020 election, I find it extremely alarming that presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden played the lead role in President Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay just five years ago.

“Therefore, I believe it is vitally important that Congress do what they can to ensure future administrations do not blatantly ignore the law and attempt harmful action that could put South Carolinians in danger. That is why I introduced an amendment to the FY2021 NDAA that would prevent funds from being used to transfer or release any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay to any location within the United States, its territories, or possessions. Several of my colleagues also introduced similar amendments to ensure Guantanamo Bay detainees could not be transferred to the United States, however, none of our amendments were made in order. House Democrats instead chose to include language that prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to four countries with ungoverned spaces including Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

“The decision to keep the most dangerous enemy combatants far away from American citizens shouldn’t be a controversial issue. The United States should not be a terrorist dumping ground. The House Democrat majority’s decision to not include my amendment may put South Carolinians in danger. Therefore, I encourage our South Carolina Senators to right this wrong and protect our State by including language in their version of the NDAA to ensure Guantanamo Bay detainees cannot be moved to domestic soil. I will continue to fight for this issue every chance I get as we move forward with the appropriations process in the House.”

Read the amendment text HERE.

Background:

Press Releases from Rep. Duncan on the issue –

  • 2015 Congressman Jeff Duncan: President Obama Plays Politics with US National Security HERE.

  • 2016 Rep. Jeff Duncan introduces resolution authorizing Gitmo Lawsuit HERE.

  • 2016 Rep. Duncan Comments on Largest Gitmo Transfer of Obama Tenure HERE.

  • 2016 Rep. Jeff Duncan comments on passage of FY17 NDAA HERE.

  • 2018 Duncan Reacts to State of the Union Address to Congress HERE.

  • 2019 Duncan Responds to House Passage of NDAA HERE.

News articles on the issue -

  • 2015 “To Close Guantánamo, Obama Will Have to Test the Limits of Presidential Power” Foreign Policy HERE.

  • 2016 “Obama Guantanamo” ABC News 4  HERE.

  • 2016 “Charleston Naval Brig to be reviewed as possible terrorist holding site” The Post and Courier HERE.

  • 2016 “Biden’s ‘Expectation’ Is Obama Will Close Gitmo Prison” Roll Call HERE.

 

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