What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Punishment Fitting the Crime : (H.R. 2892) The conference report containing the agreement between the House and Senate providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Homeland Security - - on a motion to send the report back to the conference that developed it with instructions not to agree to any language that would allow a detainee held at the Guantanamo Bay prison to be brought to the United States for prosecution or incarceration
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

To find out how your Members of Congress voted on this bill, use the form on the right.

(H.R. 2892) The conference report containing the agreement between the House and Senate providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Homeland Security - - on a motion to send the report back to the conference that developed it with instructions not to agree to any language that would allow a detainee held at the Guantanamo Bay prison to be brought to the United States for prosecution or incarceration
house Roll Call 783     Oct 15, 2009
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

The House and Senate had passed different versions of H.R. 2892, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Homeland Security.  When the two Houses of Congress pass different versions of the same bill, a final version is typically negotiated in a conference between a limited number of members of both bodies, and a conference report is developed. That report then must be passed by both legislative bodies before it is sent to the president to be signed into law. A provision in the final version of H.R. 2892 that received a great deal of attention permitted certain detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay prison to be brought to the United States. This was on a motion by Rep. Rogers (R-KY) to send the report back to the conference that developed it with instructions not to agree to any language allowing a detainee held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to be brought to the United States for prosecution or incarceration.

A large number of suspected terrorists and enemy combatants from the war in Afghanistan were being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison. President Obama announced early in 2009 that he would close the prison by the end of the year. Many Republican congressional leaders had been suggesting that President Obama would be endangering American lives by closing it, especially if he did so without a plan as to where the detainees would go. House Minority Leader Boehner (R-OH) had argued that the prisoners are “committed to killing Americans and destroying our way of life.” House Minority Whip Cantor (R-VA) had stated: "(M)ost (American) families neither want nor need terrorists around.” Rep. Tiahrt (R-KS) claimed that it was part of the "public record" that Democrats want to "transfer or release (Guantanamo) detainees on American soil with full knowledge that some will be released on our streets."

The counter-arguments that had been made to these concerns was that several convicted terrorists and conspirators were already imprisoned in the United States and had been for years, with no security issues, and that those from Guantanamo would be held in highly secure federal “supermax” prisons, from which nobody had ever escaped. Supporters of the closing of the facility also claimed that continuing to keep prisoners there would not be consistent with U.S. laws and values.

Those supporting the closing of the facility also said that the bad publicity it was receiving effectively served as a tool for recruiting terrorists. Both former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Sen. McCain (R-ARIZ) had made statements to this effect. Rep. Edwards (D-TX) had argued that closing it would actually increase the safety of Americans.

The motion was defeated by a vote of 193-224.  One hundred and sixty-eight Republicans and twenty-five Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and twenty-three Democrats and one Republican voted “nay”. As a result, instructions were not given to the House conferees to oppose language allowing a detainee held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to be brought to the United States; as a further result, the House moved ahead to a vote on approving the conference report.

Issue Areas:

Find your Member of
Congress' votes

Select by Name