House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters today that the lower chamber has the veto override votes to defeat any plan of President Obama’s to close Guantanamo.
Obama said Tuesday that he’s counting on negotiations with Congress to peel back a prohibition from transferring detainees — in this case, the most dangerous ones who cannot be released to another country — to the United States.
“He can try,” Ryan said of Obama’s plans to close Gitmo. “He has no authority to do so.”
“Correct me if I’m wrong on the vote, but I think 370 House members voted for the NDAA; 91 senators voted for the NDAA. We have veto override vote on this,” he said. “Here’s the point. We’re also preparing our legal challenge. So we are making legal preparations if the president tries to break the law. And what boggles my mind is that the president is contemplating directing the military to knowingly break the law. Our law is really clear.”
“And by the way, Democrats wrote this law when they were in the majority, when they ran Congress, which is these detainees cannot come to American soil. So if the president proceeds with knowingly breaking the law and asking the military to break the law, he will be met with fierce bipartisan opposition here in Congress and we are taking all legal preparations necessary to meet with that resistance. He can’t do it because the law is really clear. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Ryan refused to comment on the Nevada caucuses or the presidential election as a whole.
“The American people are going to make this decision. We believe that the country is headed on the wrong path. We think that the president’s policies aren’t working. We have 45 million people in poverty. We have flat wages. We have deep economic anxiety,” the Speaker said.
“Oh, and by the way, ISIS is on offense and we have terrorism knocking on our doorstep, and we are less safe as a people. That’s not good. So we think here in Congress we have an obligation, a moral obligation to the people of this nation to show them how we would do things differently. And that is what our agenda project is all about.”
Ryan said the GOP caucus is “going to roll out ideas and take to the country, not unlike what Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp and everyone did in 1980, to offer the country a very clear and compelling choice so that they can choose an America, what kind of country we want to be in 2017.”
“Here’s an agenda we can pass with a Republican president. And we want to earn a mandate from this country and fix this country’s problems,” he said. “And we can do that with whoever the Republican president is. So we’re not commenting on who — the goings on in the various caucuses and primaries. We’re talking about the high stakes of this election. Everything is up for grabs — Congress, the presidency, Supreme Court. And we — we owe this country a choice and that’s exactly what we’re going to give them.”