The House rebuffed a proposal Thursday to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by the end of 2017.
An amendment to the annual national defense authorization that would provide a framework for closing the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, failed on a vote of 174-249.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee and author of the amendment, called the facility an “international eyesore.” He noted that the U.S. already has prisons that can hold dangerous convicted terrorists.
“We have the facilities. We have the ability to hold them safely here,” Smith said.
The legislation maintains the current ban against transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. It also prohibits building facilities to house detainees on American soil.
Republicans argued that the need for a place to detain suspected terrorists would not go away even if the Guantanamo Bay prison were closed.
“I struggle to understand why we would close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp only to finance the incarceration of enemy combatants within the United States,” Coffman said.
President Obama first pledged to close the Guantanamo Bay facility upon taking office in 2009. But he has repeatedly encountered resistance from Capitol Hill throughout his two terms.