President Obama named Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) in June as his nominee to become the next Secretary of the Army. Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved his nomination by voice vote, and a Senate Democratic spokesperson said “Democratic leaders are seeking unanimous consent to have him confirmed by the full Senate by the end of the week.”
Concerned that their state could become the home for some Guantánamo Bay detainees, Kansas’ two Republican senators have placed a hold on the nomination of Rep. John M. McHugh as Army secretary. That means a litte more time as candidates in waiting for the people gearing up to run for McHugh’s seat in an upstate New York district.
Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback are seeking answers from the Obama administration about the possible moves of some detainees to the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Fox News’s Chris Wallace has reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates, also a native of Kansas, is “furious” with Roberts and Brownback for placing the hold on McHugh:
WALLACE: Defense Secretary Robert Gates is said to be furious that senators from Alabama and Kansas are holding up the confirmation of the new Army secretary and his deputy. Kansas Senators Brownback and Roberts are trying to keep detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison out of Fort Leavenworth in their state.
Brownback and Roberts are also blocking nine other nominees for senior administration posts at the Pentagon and Justice Department. They said “they are prepared to block the appointments until they get answers from the White House about the proposal. And they said they want Leavenworth taken off the list of potential relocation spots.”
In order to close Gitmo, Leavenworth — which “has incarcerated infamous criminals” — must be considered an option for relocating detainees. As Ken Gude writes, “Americans in uniform are dying because of Guantanamo. The men and women serving at Ft. Leavenworth could be a part of the solution that saves American lives.”