Mystifyingly beats me why they did, since this latest version of the Defense Appropriations bill still keeps Gitmo running full-tilt and purports to ban the Regime from importing hardcore jihadists into the U.S. civilian "correctional" system to recruit hordes of new ones from the American inmate population:
The Pentagon would be banned from transferring enemy combatants to the U.S. and the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba would have to stay open under a $615 billion defense policy bill that won final passage.
The Senate cleared the legislation, S. 1356, for Barack Obama’s [veto] on a vote of 91-3....
The Republican-led Congress has been clear about its determination to keep enemy combatants at Guantanamo, writing instructions into both authorization and spending bills.
Lawmakers in Colorado, Kansas, and South Carolina were angered to learn that the Pentagon had sent teams to prisons in those States to assess whether they might be suitable for the Guantanamo inmates.
Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas - home of a maximum-security prison at Fort Leavenworth - said he wants a Government Accountability Office investigation of whether the scouting trips violated existing law that prohibits funds being spent to transfer detainees to the U.S. Roberts also placed a hold on Obama’s nominee to be [the first queer Commissar] of the Army, Eric Fanning - an action that would force the administration to find sixty Senate votes just to bring the nomination to the floor.
Or O could just install Fanning anyway with an "I dub the Senate to be in recess" appointment, or just change his nomination to be for "Army Czar". Apparently Senator Roberts has forgotten the full extent of The One's tyrannical resourcefulness. Memory deficiencies are quite common for men at his advanced age.
Obama should obey the law on Guantanamo even though “it may conflict with a campaign slogan from eight or nine years ago,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.
Obama should obey the law, period. But he's more of a Caliph/Party General Secretary hybrid than he is a president, Mitchie. I guess your memory is getting as spotty as your distinguished colleague from Kansas.
Which pen Red Barry pulls out on this bill is really in very little doubt:
The administration could be preparing to argue that Congress exceeded its authority when writing the bans against closing the Guantanamo facility; two former administration officials used an op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post to lay out the case that Obama has the authority to act without congressional approval.
“The restriction is plainly unconstitutional,” wrote Gregory Craig, former White House counsel, and Cliff Sloan, formerly special envoy for closing Guantanamo. “The president, in his capacity as commander in chief, has the exclusive authority to make tactical military decisions.”
i.e. Congress's actions violate the Obama Agenda, which supercedes the United States Constitution. And since when does turning loose illegal enemy combatants into the general U.S. population constitute a "tactical military decision" and not a traitorous one?
In any case, S. 1356 actually <GASP> procures new weapons acquisitions, like a dozen more F/A-18 Super Hornets for the Incredibly Shrinking Navy and six more F-35B Lightning Joint Strike Fighters for the Marines. O will probably scrawl "VETO!!!!!" all over the bill with his blood-colored crayon before he even gets to the Gitmo part.
UPDATE: Yes, I know it passed by a veto-proof margin. But if - when - Obama vetoes it again, do you not think that at least twenty-six Democrat senators and a hundred and one of their House counterparts can't and won't be bulldozed into line to sustain it - again? I wouldn't bet against it.
UPDATE II: No, no, no, Mr. Speaker, Barack Obama most certainly can close Gitmo by executive order; he just can't do so legally. But when has the law ever impeded him from doing what he wanted to do? The question isn't what Barack Obama legally can't do, but what Congress is willing to do when he flagrantly breaks the law. Again.
That won't stop him either, of course. But symbolically speaking, it'd be better than doing nothing. Again.