WH: Obama May ‘Use Whatever Authority is Available To Him’ To Close Gitmo

By Eric Scheiner | November 6, 2015 | 3:26pm EST

Guantanamo Bay prison facility. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House said Friday that if Congress blocks its plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility, President Barack Obama may “use whatever authority is available to him to move closer to accomplishing his goal.”

On Thursday, the House passed a $607 billion defense bill that includes language barring President Barack Obama from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. prisons.

“Our preference is we would like to work with Congress to get this done,” White House Spokesperson John Earnest told reporters on Friday. “I certainly wouldn’t take off the table the ability of the president to use whatever authority is available to him to try to move closer to accomplishing this goal.”

Earnest says, “The president is determined despite the significant Congressional obstacles that have been erected – (he) is determined to accomplish this goal.”

Obama is expected to shortly put forward a plan to Congress that would close the Cuban facility that currently houses 112 inmates.

"This administration has continually gone around the Congress and tried to figure out which button to push to irritate Congress the most," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

"As I have said for years and years, we are not going to have terrorists from Gitmo come to Fort Leavenworth, the intellectual center of the Army, or any other location in the United States."

"Why do we even have a Congress," Roberts said, "if the president can issue an executive order on anything and, in this particular case, endanger our national security?"

Associated Press material was used in this report.

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