House members on Tuesday voted to condemn President Obama for failing to notify Congress about plans to exchange five Taliban detainees for prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
The resolution notes “grave concern over national security implications that may arise due to the release of Taliban officials” and “the repercussions of negotiating with terrorists.” It passed 249-163, with 22 Democrats breaking ranks to support the reprimand.
It carries no actual punishment, but represents another foreign policy headache for the White House as it struggles to maintain congressional support for intervention in Iraq.
At issue is a 2014 law requiring the White House to notify Congress 30 days before the transfer of any prisoners housed at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. The five men sent to Qatar as part of the Bergdahl swap were housed there, but administration officials opted not to inform lawmakers before the transfer occurred.
Obama has argued that the notification requirement can be ignored in cases where Americans lives are at risk, and said he worried that congressional leaks could endanger the Bergdahl deal. The soldier spent five years in captivity before the exchange in May.
But conservatives in the House rejected that argument, and blasted the president for ignoring the law and harming national security.