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House to condemn Obama for illegal Bergdahl prisoner swap

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the killing of journalist James Foley in Syria during a statement in Edgartown, Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. The president said the U.S. will continue to confront Islamic State extremists despite Foley's brutal murder. Obama said he spoke Wednesday with Foley's family and offered condolences. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The House next week will pass a non-binding resolution that condemns the Obama administration for releasing five Taliban soldiers from Guatanamo Bay without following a federal law that requires proper notification of Congress.

The vote will come just a few weeks after the Government Accountability Office found that the administration didn't give Congress the required 30-day notice before transferring anyone out of Guantanamo Bay.

 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) President Obama approved a prisoner swap earlier this year that appears to be illegal, and the House is expected to formally condemn that swap next week. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In May, the administration released five dangerous Taliban soldiers to Qatar, in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. While some praised Bergdahl's return home, many Republicans said the law clearly states that Congress must be notified before anyone is released from the U.S. detention facilities in Cuba.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told his House colleagues Thursday that a vote would come soon to condemn Obama's decision.

"The law is clear, and therefore the House will consider H. Res. 644, authored by Representative Scott Rigell, which condemns the failure to comply with the statutory requirement to provide advance notice to Congress," he wrote.

The resolution — which is non-binding and has no force or effect — outlines the clear violation of law, and says Congress was not formally notified of the prisoner exchange until June 2, three days after it occurred. At the time, some members said they were given just a few hours' notice about the agreement.

It concludes by saying Congress "condemns and disapproves" of the administration's failure to provide proper notice, and "expresses grave concern" about the transfer of the five Taliban soldiers to Qatar.

"[T]hese actions have burdened unnecessarily the trust and confidence in the commitment and ability of the Obama administration to constructively engage and work with Congress," it says.

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