Biden signs $ 770 billion defense bill but criticizes Guantanamo Bay restrictions

has about 40 prisoners, down from a total of about 800 prisoners. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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In a statement, Biden said that although he approved the move as a whole, he was not happy with the many legal restrictions, including those aimed at blocking efforts to close the center, which former President Barack Obama vowed to do.

"Unfortunately ... the law continues to restrict the use of funds for the transfer of Guantánamo Bay prisoners to custody or for the effective control of certain foreign countries," Biden said, adding that one section "restricts spending on transferring Guantánamo Bay prisoners." in the United States unless otherwise specified. ”

"It is a long-standing position of the executive council that these provisions unfairly impair the executive's ability to determine when and where the Guantánamo Bay prisoners will be prosecuted and where to send them when they are released," he said. "I urge Congress to remove these restrictions as soon as possible."

Former President George W. Bush opened the prison in 2002 after a terrorist attack on September 11. At its peak, Guantánamo Bay detained nearly 800 prisoners. The center now has about 40.

Biden on Monday endorsed the ann ual military policy bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, which states that it "provides significant bene fits and pro motes access to ju stice for milit ary pers onnel and their families, and includes key authorities to support the defense of our country."

The law authorizes a 2.7 percent increa se in salaries for members of the Depart ment of Defense and the Department of Defense, $ 27 billion for new Navy ships and $ 75.3 million for the use of the Military Retirement Home.

Biden expressed concern over some of the provisions in his statement, including the language that requires departments and agencies to submit reports to conference committees “which, in general, will include more sensitive information, including information that could expose important intelligence resources or military operations. programs. "

Biden also criticized part of a bill that required the president to seek approval for a congressional hearing from members of the defense ministry, saying it was unconstitutional and "empowered part of Congress to interfere directly with the appointment of senior staff."