Holder Bars Hill Briefings on Gitmo Terrorists; House Vote on $94 Billion Today

Wolf to Holder:  Define “Terrorist”

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday asking him to define his meaning of the word “terrorist.”  This third letter to Holder again asks for information on the potential transfer and/or release of Guantanamo detainees into the United States and, more specifically, about plans for the release of al Qaeda trained Uighur terrorists into the general population of a city in northern Virginia.  The first two letters have gone unanswered.  

And — according to Wolf — Holder has taken the unprecedented step of ordering the FBI, the Federal Marshals’ Service and the Department of Homeland Security from briefing Wolf on the matter.

From the letter:

“I have grave concerns that you are playing fast and loose with the definition of ‘terrorist’ and may be misleading the American people regarding its plans to release the Uyghur detainees into the U.S.  Let me be very clear — the Uyghurs held at Guantanamo Bay are trained terrorists and members or associates of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a designated terrorist group affiliated with al Qaeda, as designated by both the U.S. government and the United Nations (U.N.).  Whether their intended victims were Chinese or Americans, a trained terrorist is a terrorist.”

I spoke with Rep. Wolf last night about the letter and about Holder prohibiting staff from the FBI, Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security from briefing Rep. Wolf on plans for the dispensation of the Gitmo terrorists.

“Imagine if this were 2002 and Attorney General Ashcroft had told Sen. Leahy that he was not going to allow any FBI agent or career person to come up and talk to Sen. Leahy,” Wolf said.  “Can you imagine the kind of story that would have been?”

We also spoke of late-breaking developments on an agreement with Democrats to include language in the supplemental bill being voted on today that would give local governments a role in any decision-making process to release into their communities or place into their prison systems any Gitmo detainees.

“There will be language, I don’t know what the final language will be, but it looks like the Democrats are going to accept a lot of what we had in committee,” Wolf said.  “It basically prohibits [the Obama administration] from moving anyone, prohibits them from releasing anyone, and it requires a report.  It also requires cooperation with the local county and the governor.”

It would be a great victory for Wolf, who has been on the front lines fighting against the release of these terrorists into his backyard.  He said he will be doing outreach on the Senate side to help ensure the language survives when the House and Senate versions go to conference.

Supplemental Vote Today

Today the House will vote on the $94 billion "supplemental" 2009 spending bill that for the most part funds military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  According to several Hill staffers, House Republican leadership made it clear to Democrats that they would advise a vote against this “must pass” legislation if it included the $108 billion bailout for the ailing International Monetary Fund (IMF) that President Obama pledged on behalf of the American taxpayer in April.
Kevin Smith, the communications director for House Republican leader John Boehner, spoke with HUMAN EVENTS late yesterday about the Democrats’ sleight of hand to again put generations of taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars, this time in a foreign aid bailout package that is much larger than the supplemental military spending bill itself.

“We’ve informed the Democrats that House Republicans strongly oppose tacking on IMF money onto this troop funding bill,” Smith said.  “This should be a clean bill, not a vehicle to pile up more debt on the backs of our kids and grandkids.”

Without Republican votes in the House, the supplemental would be in jeopardy because the far left House Democrats who automatically vote against any funding for the troops amount sometimes to as many as 130 or 140 votes, making Republican votes essential for passage. 
The IMF bailout language was pulled from consideration in the House legislation but is still included in the Senate bill.  Democrats hope to pass the language through the Senate and include Obama’s $108 billion IMF bailout in the conference report that would again have to pass both houses.

One House Republican who requested anonymity yesterday told HUMAN EVENTS that the supplemental was about a “70%” bill, meaning it met that percentage of Republican goals.  But, he said, it would be a “90% or 95% bill” if Republican Leader John Boehner had played hardball with the Democrats.  

When the bill comes back from conference — almost certainly with the $108 billion for the IMF back in it — will Boehner pull out all the stops and try to kill it?

Obama Administration Proposed Making $108 Billion IMF “Contribution” Off Budget

Another House conservative, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, talked to HUMAN EVENTS about a report on the IMF bailout in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and what they termed “arcane-though politically important-budget math.”  

The Obama administration wanted a formulation that would have reflected zero impact to the budget for these IMF loans because, they argued, in theory the loans are paid back.  On Tuesday, the bicameral Republican and Democrat Budget Committee leadership participated in a conference call to assess the impact of IMF requests on the budget.  I asked Ryan for comment on the conference call.

“While I do not support the administration’s proposals to increase contributions and broaden IMF’s existing authority to expand its mission and weaken oversight, I think there is a consensus that the current budget treatment of the IMF is not accurate,” Ryan said.  “Currently, contributions to the IMF are scored as an appropriation with no impact on spending, the deficit, or the debt.  I objected to the administration’s proposal to completely erase IMF from the budget. [Tuesday], I agreed with the chairmen of the Budget Committees and Senator Gregg that the most accurate way to budget for the IMF was under the Federal Credit Reform Act, which will fully account for the long-term costs of any loans that the U.S. makes to the IMF.”