US lawmakers have dealt another blow to President Barack Obama’s plans to close Guantanamo jail, denying a request for extra funds and restricting the transfer and release of detainees.
The House Appropriations subcommittee, tasked with funding the Justice Department and other agencies, threw out a request for $60 million on Thursday to help the department shutter the prison on the US naval base in southern Cuba.
It approved a $64.4 billion 2010 funding bill for the agencies under its remit, but attached conditions on releasing Guantanamo inmates.
The bill would see the government barred from releasing any of the 240 remaining detainees in the United States or to any other country until the administration has presented a plan to Congress.
The panel’s decision was the latest blow to Obama’s efforts to close the prison by January 22, 2010, which have run into opposition at home amid fears the inmates could be released onto US terrority.
Other nations have also been reluctant to accept any of the 50 detainees so far cleared for release. An Algerian national has been taken in by France, while an Ethiopian-born British resident was returned to Britain.
Last month, the Senate -- led by Democrats in Obama’s own party -- overwhelmingly voted to strip $80 million requested by the president to fund the prison’s closure out of a separate supplemental war funding bill.