President Obama's allies in the Senate will not provide funds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January, a top Democratic official said today. With debate looming on Obama's spending request to cover military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the official says Democrats will deny the Pentagon and Justice Department $80 million to relocate Guantanamo's 240 detainees.
The administration has yet to develop a plan for what to do with the detainees, and Obama's promise to close the facility is facing strong GOP opposition. It appears to be a tactical retreat. Once the administration develops a plan to close the facility, congressional Democrats are likely to revisit the topic, provided they are satisfied there are adequate safeguards. The Pentagon said it still expects the prison at Guantanamo Bay to be closed by January 2010 as Obama has ordered.