Scott Joins Colleagues to Introduce Bill to Temporarily Stop Gitmo Transfers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) joined Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and U.S. Senator Steve Daines (MT) today to introduce bicameral legislation to temporarily ban the transfer or release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The administration reportedly is set to release nearly two dozen Gitmo detainees to several different countries this summer amid efforts to close the prison before the end of the president’s term.

The bill (H.R. 5351 / S. 2999) would prohibit these transfers until either the end of this year or enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017. Original co-sponsors include U.S. Representatives Ryan Zinke (MT-AL), Joe Wilson (SC-02), and Elise Stefanik (NY-21) and U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (KS), and Pat Roberts (KS).

“The Obama administration continues with their efforts to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and transfer these dangerous terrorists to different locations, and I believe it is absolutely critical for us to prevent this from happening,” Senator Scott said. “Our national security must remain a priority, and by releasing these enemy combatants the President jeopardizes the safety of Americans. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation to help stop this administration’s dangerous and misguided plan to ultimately close Gitmo and move terrorists to U.S. soil.”

“The administration is recklessly accelerating its release of dangerous terrorists in order to fulfill the president’s misguided promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” said Congresswoman Walorski, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “There are critical provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act the House just passed to prohibit the administration from bringing terrorists to U.S. soil and closing Gitmo, but we cannot afford to wait for that bill to become law. It is time for an immediate pause on transfers so Americans at home and abroad are not put at greater risk by released detainees returning to terrorism.”

“Terrorists captured by U.S. forces belong in Guantanamo period,” Senator Daines stated. “President Obama is prioritizing a campaign promise over his oath of office by releasing enemy combatants – even though several have returned to the battlefield. We can’t allow terrorists who are looking to harm Americans and others be political pawns. This reckless and irrational plan will only entice our enemies instead of serving as a powerful deterrent.”

The NDAA passed last week in the House would require written agreements between the U.S. government and the government of any foreign country that agrees to accept detainees. The House-passed NDAA also would require the next administration to provide Congress with a comprehensive detention plan outlining how the release of any Gitmo detainee fits into the broader strategy for handling individuals detained during wartime.