Another year, another White House threat to veto the annual defense authorization bill over Guantanamo. But this time, it just might happen.
For the past few years, the Obama administration has railed against GOP efforts to use the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, to block President Obama’s drive to shutter the detention facility at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. Yet either through signing statements or moderate compromises, it’s never come down to a veto of the mammoth, “must-pass” legislation. But this year, in what is realistically Obama’s last chance to shut Gitmo down, Republicans are using their control of both chambers of Congress to push language that would kill the effort once and for all.
“This Administration has repeatedly objected to statutory restrictions that impede our ability to responsibly close the detention facility and pursue appropriate options for the remaining detainees,” White House spokeswoman Jen Friedman said in a statement to Defense One on Monday. She repeated the warning issued before the House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the fiscal 2016 NDAA last week. “Instead of removing unwarranted and burdensome restrictions, H.R. 1735, as drafted, would extend current restrictions and impose onerous additional ones.”