Democrats Block Move to Close Guantanamo

Party leaders say Obama shouldn't ask for funds until he announces his plan to close the facility.

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BY James Gordon Meek
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON - Democrats momentarily blocked President Obama's move to close Guantanamo Bay on Tuesday, denying him $80 million to take down the jail.

Party leaders said the President shouldn't ask for cash until he has announced his plan for turning out the lights in the U.S. terrorist prison camp in Cuba - and determined where the prisoners will go.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said it was "premature" to okay the cash, which House Democrats torpedoed last week.

"They felt the heat," Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told MSNBC.

Worse for Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suddenly embraced GOP objections to freeing Gitmo detainees on U.S. soil.

"I can't make it any more clear," Reid said. "We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States."

The Obama administration has been weighing a plan to free in Virginia a half-dozen ethnic Turk Muslims from China called Uyghurs, who have been cleared of being a threat.

Reid also suggested hard-core terrorists shouldn't be locked up here, either.

The Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Richard Durbin of Illinois, said Congress will provide funding after Obama announces his plans for closing the prison, which is expected tomorrow.