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House GOP defense bill blocks Guantanamo closing

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GOP block Gitmo closingRebuffing President Barack Obama's latest plea, House Republicans on Monday proposed keeping open the military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by barring the administration from transferring its terror suspects to the United States or a foreign country such as Yemen.

The provisions dealing with the fate of the remaining 166 prisoners are part of a defense policy bill drafted by Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif. The chairman released the bill Monday, two days before Republicans and Democrats on the committee will vote on it.

Overall, the bill would authorize $638 billion for the military in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, including $86 billion for war costs. The committee responded to concerns that the military was headed toward a readiness crisis due to automatic spending cuts by adding nearly $5 billion beyond the president's budget request for training programs, equipment maintenance, spare parts and more.

The final bill is likely to include additional provisions addressing the epidemic of sexual assaults in the military, missile defense and weapons programs, with most reflecting the will of Republicans who control the House. The full chamber is expected to vote on the bill this summer and then work out differences when the Democratic-run Senate passes its version.


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