Senate Defeats Inhofe Amendment On Gitmo Detainee Transfer

The Senate this afternoon defeated an amendment aimed at the Obama administration’s efforts to transfer detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay to the United States.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) had tried to attach an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act that would have blocked money for building or modifying prisons to hold Gitmo detainees.

The Senate killed the Inhofe amendment in a 57-43 vote hailed by the ACLU. All 40 Republicans were joined by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, both Democrats from Arkansas.Earlier today chairman Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran, called Inhofe a hypocrite:

“Nearly 200 terrorists were tried and convicted in U.S. courts, most notably Zacharias Moussavi who was brought to the U.S. by President George W. Bush. All the while, Senator Inhofe was quiet. Playing politics with security like this is a disgrace.”

Soltz added that “true conservatives” Bob Barr, Davide Keene and Grover Norquist (who support moving the detainees to the U.S.) are “on our side.”

VoteVets is part of the National Campaign to Close Guantanamo.

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) charged the measure “put political interests ahead of our national interests” and ultimately is trying to keep the detention center open.

“I find it shameful that Congress is being asked to help keep open a facility that has been a stain on our reputation throughout the world and has given ammunition to our enemies,” Leahy said.

“This amendment would say to the world that we are not strong enough, that our over 200 year old superior legal tradition is not flexible enough, to allow us to deal with those who attack us,” he said. “Refusing to close Guantanamo also means we lose our ability to respond with moral authority if other countries should mistreat American soldiers or civilians.”

Attorney General Eric Holder will testify tomorrow in Leahy’s Judiciary Committee. Conservative groups have encouraged supporters to protest the hearing.

Newt Gingrich pushed the protesters along today, telling his 1.1 million Twitter followers to join the group.