In a vote of 258-163, the House of Representatives passed a broad package of measures entitled H.R. 2892 “Making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.”
The “other purposes” really ran the gamut, including one bizarre tack-on section allowing butane lighters on board airplanes and another allowing the importation of drugs from Canada for personal use. The interesting stuff (from our perspective at least) is among other things, the “Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009,” aimed at giving the Obama Administration legal cover in its battle to keep pictures of detainee abuse from becoming public. The bill also included a non-binding recommendation seeking to keep Guantanamo detainees from coming to the US to face trial.
The vote was spun as a defeat for the Obama Administration’s ostensible plan to close Guantanamo Bay, but really underscored the hawkish voting block that the administration will likely have to rely on to push through future escalations in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Though only supported by 35% of voting Democrats, the bill passed easily, relying on a coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans. Only one Republican, Congressman Ron Paul, voted against the measure.