War Funding Bill Stuck In House-Senate Talks
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
The future of Guantanamo detainees is just one of the issues blocking a war funding bill in Congress. Lawmakers agree on funding the troops, but don't agree on what they want to attach to that plan. Here's NPR's David Welna.
DAVID WELNA: The provision they want removed is aimed at preventing any release of photos the Pentagon has of detainees held by U.S. forces after 9/11. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham cosponsored that amendment, and he's worried it will be removed from the final version of the war spending bill in order to pick up needed votes in the House.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: I cannot believe that we're about to do this, that we're going to dismiss the advice of our commanders who are leading our troops at a time of war to give in to a fringe element.
WELNA: Connecticut Independent Senator Joe Lieberman is the other cosponsor of the measure banning the release of the photos.
JOE LIEBERMAN: If this amendment is dropped, Senator Graham and I will not go quietly into the night.
WELNA: But moving those detainees is a major policy goal for President Obama. Yesterday, the administration transferred Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Ghailani to New York to stand trial in connection with bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that took more than 200 lives 11 years ago. Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat close to President Obama, applauded the move.
DICK DURBIN: Dangerous people who threaten the United States should be dealt with by our Constitution and laws. The administration has made the right decision that this man be brought to trial in the United States, held accountable for any wrongdoing on his part that led to the deaths of so many hundreds of innocent people at our embassies in Africa.
WELNA: But New York House Republican Peter King condemned the transfer of the first Guantanamo detainee to the U.S. as very hasty and premature.
PETER KING: I think the administration is trying to prove a point here. They're trying to make a point. They're trying to take a case where they feel a conviction should be somewhat easy and use that as the precedent to bring other detainees to the United States.
WELNA: David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.
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