WASHINGTON - US lawmakers dealt a blow to President Barack Obama's five-year-long effort to close the prison camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba by omitting a plan to shut the facility from an annual defense authorization bill.
US Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters on Monday that the final version of the massive bill will not allow the president to transfer inmates to the United States.
"Our language (on Guantanamo) ... will not be in," Levin said.
The defense bill, which has been passed annually for more than half a century, is likely to be approved by the House of Representatives and Senate in the coming days and then sent to the White House for Obama to sign into law.
Obama has promised to shut the detainee camp since he entered the White House in early 2009, citing its damage to the US reputation around the world. He has so far been unable to do so, partly because of resistance from Congress.