House Passes Barrow-Sponsored Resolution Condemning Prisoner Swap

One of the first orders of business (other than naming some post offices) after the U.S. House reconvened following the August recess was consideration of House Res. 644. The bipartisan resolution, which was introduced by Georgia’s 12th District Rep. John Barrow (D), Nick Rahall (D-WV), Scott Rigell (R-VA) and Reid Ribble (R-WI), repudiates President Obama’s exchange of five Taliban prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl back in May.

The resolution notes that the prisoner exchange was unlawful because President Obama did not notify Congress at least 30 days prior to the transfer or release of any terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay takes place. Georgians co-sponsoring the resolution included Jack Kingston, Tom Price, Austin Scott, and Rob Woodall. It passed in the House 249 to 163.

Prior to passage, Barrow explained his support for the resolution on the House floor:

Statements from Broun and Rep. Price are below the fold.

After the bill passed, Congressman Barrow issued this statement:

This Administration has an obligation under the law to work with Congress on issues that relate to our national security. The President failed to notify Congress of his intent to transfer five high priority detainees from Guantanamo Bay, and more importantly, he abandoned our long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists. This transfer poses a major national security risk, and it complicates our efforts to combat terrorism worldwide. The President cannot treat Congress as an afterthought or adversary, particularly with decisions impacting our national security and especially since, in this case, Congress could have helped the President get this decision right.

Sixth District Congressman Tom Price issued this statement:

The Obama Administration has developed a disturbing habit of ignoring our nation’s laws. In the case of the five Taliban detainees who were released from Guantanamo Bay, failing to follow the law and notify Congress was a needlessly cavalier move by the president on an issue of grave importance to the nation’s security and that of our armed forces stationed around the world. Even if the president had abided by the law, there are serious concerns about releasing these five detainees and the threat they could pose to the American people and American interests.

“It should come as no surprise to President Obama that Congress and the American people would have objections to his administration negotiating with terrorists. Trying to ignore or avoid addressing those concerns by subverting the laws of this land is simply inexcusable.