09:53 GMT16 June 2021
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    The US House of Representatives passed the new version of the National Defense Authorization Act, after President Obama earlier vetoed the bill over disagreement on spending cuts, and for its language regarding Guantanamo.

    The US House of Representatives voted to pass the revised National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] by 370 votes to 58, after the bill was reworked following President Obama's veto of the original bill on October 22. 

    The US president explained that he used his veto on the bill because he disagreed on its cuts to the defense budget, prevention of defense reforms, and its opposition to the closure of the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. 

    The new budget passed by House of Representatives on Thursday is worth $602 billion, and contains a bipartisan compromise cut in spending of $5 billion in order to keep to federal budget caps on both defense and non-defense spending, that have been imposed to reduce the government deficit. 

    However, the revised bill with regards to Guantanamo remains unchanged, and still contains language which prevents the transfer of prisoners from the facility in Cuba to the US for another year.

    "This legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world," stated President Obama when he vetoed the bill on October 22, describing the prison as "one of the premiere mechanisms for jihadists to recruit."

    The president has repeatedly stated his opposition to the detention camp, but his attempts to close the facility have been thwarted by lawmakers in Congress, and approximately 116 prisoners remain in detention there. 

    The prison opened in January 2002 in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, and is located at the US Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The US government uses the military prison to detain without charge those it suspects of terrorism. Gross human rights abuses have been reported to take place there, in violation of US and international law.

    On November 4, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated the president's opposition to the prison, calling it "incredibly expensive" and something that "plays into the narrative that extremists around the world use to recruit terrorists."

    "I would not take anything off the table in terms of the President doing everything that he can to achieve this critically important national security objective," said Earnest, refusing to rule out the prospect of Obama attempting to use his executive authority to close the prison, bypassing the legislature.

    "This is a pretty transparent case of the United States Congress putting narrow political interests ahead of national security," said the spokesman.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    House of Representatives, Barack Obama, US, Guantanamo Bay
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