President Barack Obama is finalizing a plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and would veto a military funding bill that seeks to block such efforts, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
“For a variety of reasons this continues to be a priority and that’s why we are continuing to work on a plan to share with Congress,” Earnest said. “We are in the final stages of drafting a plan to safely and responsibly close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.”
Earnest said that before Guantanamo is closed, “we need to responsibly transfer prisoners,” and also determine if remaining detainees should continue to be held.
“It’s complicated work,” Earnest said.
Obama pledged on his first full day in office in 2009 to close the prison. He now has a year and a half left until his presidency ends.
Many congressional Republicans and even some Democrats have supported legislative moves to keep Gitmo open. Republicans have moved for language in the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, to keep the prison in operation.
“We’ve made that a priority, that’s why the president and his advisers have concluded that if it’s included in the NDAA, the president will veto it,” Earnest said.