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Austria introduces bill to bar Guantanamo detainees from Buckeye state
By Jessica Wehrman | Thursday, May 7, 2009, 05:35 PM
U.S. Rep. Steve Austria does not want former prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba sent to Ohio - and he’s introduced a bill to keep it from happening.
Austria, R-Beavercreek, introduced a bill Thursday, May 7, to keep enemy combatants currently housed at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from being transferred to prisons in Ohio. The bill also bars the use of federal dollars to build facilities in Ohio to house enemy combatants from Guantanamo.
Austria’s bill -Â cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, Jim Jordan, R-Urbana and Pat Tiberi, R-Columbus - comes after a handful of lawmakers from other states, including Minnesota and California, introduced similar bills to keep Guantanamo prisoners from being sent to their state.
Austria said he and other members of Congress are worried that President Obama, who promised during the presidential campaign to close Guantanamo, hasn’t crafted a plan for where to send the approximately 245 detainees currently located there.
Obama earlier this year issued an executive order to close the Guantanamo detention center. On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee turned down Obama’s request for about $80 million to move prisoners from Guantanamo because he had yet to release a plan for where he intended to send them.
“I don’t believe Congress should approve the administration’s request for funds until they have a clear plan in place of how they’ll be relocated and where they’ll be relocated that ensures the safety of all Americans,” he said.
This bill is Austria’s first standalone bill since he came to Congress in January, although he has also attached an amendment supporting greater military pay raises to an earlier bill.