WASHINGTON--On an overwhelming 90-6 roll call, the Senate balked Wednesday on funding for a key pledge of President Obama--closing down the military prison holding alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Illinois senators split on the contentious issue, fueling debate over whether U.S. communities will accept the detainees at local prisons.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was one of the six Senators backing Obama's cornerstone campaign pledge. Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) voted with the majority.
Arguing for the $80 million for the prisoner transfer--out of $91.3 billion Defense supplemental spending, Durbin said U.S. corrections personnel already handle dangerous prisoners "every single day."
"The reality is that we're holding some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world right now in our federal prisons," Durbin said from the Senate floor.
Burris told me after the vote he thought high security facilities--such as the federal maximum security prison in Marion, Ill. could safely hold the detainees.
THE SENATE SIX
The question: "To prohibit funding to transfer, release, or incarcerate detainees detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to or within the United States."
Not Voting - 3