$170 million in funding for Thomson Correctional Center one step closer to approval
From press release
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted July 22 to give the Federal Bureau of Prisons $170 million to purchase the vacant, state-owned Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois and run it as a stand-alone federal prison.
Section 532 of the bill (S. 3636) also specifically prohibits federal funds from being used to move al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO), inside the United States for detention.
Last month, a House Appropriations subcommittee similarly approved $170 million for purchasing Thomson with a similar prohibition against bringing the GITMO terrorists inside the United States.
The funding must still be approved by the House Appropriations Committee as well as the full House and Senate before it is sent to the president for his signature.
U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) said: “This is another positive step in our effort to see Thomson open as a federal prison without the GITMO terrorists. Funding has now been approved by both key House and Senate appropriators to purchase Thomson with a prohibition on housing the terrorists there. This funding would allow the Bureau of Prisons to fully utilize Thomson as a federal prison housing up to 2,600 federal inmates, relieving the prison system’s massive overcrowding even more, and providing much-needed jobs for the region. We still have several more steps to complete in the appropriations process, but we are in a good position now that the funding has been approved by both key House and Senate appropriators.”
Earlier this week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said closing GITMO is not a priority for congressional Democrats, according to CNN.
For years, Manzullo has supported opening the now-vacant Thomson Correctional Center as a stand-alone state or federal prison. It has been heavily underutilized since it opened in 2001.
President Barack Obama announced last November that he wanted to purchase Thomson and use it jointly as a federal prison and a new home for the al-Qaeda terrorists at GITMO. Manzullo was concerned the controversial GITMO portion of the proposal would swamp efforts to open Thomson as a federal prison and create much-needed jobs for the people of northwest Illinois. Manzullo asked the president in a November letter to separate the issues, and was relieved when he received a letter back from the administration in March stating they planned to purchase and open Thomson as a federal prison, even if they could not get authorization from Congress to move the GITMO terrorists there.
Since then, Congress has recognized the mood of the American people and has taken several actions to prevent the move of the GITMO terrorists to Thomson. In late May, the House voted 282-131 (with 114 Democrats joining 168 Republicans) for an amendment to the FY 2010 Department of Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 5136) to prohibit the administration from bringing any GITMO terrorists into the United States. Five Illinois Democrats joined all Illinois Republicans in supporting the amendment, which would keep the terrorists out of Illinois. And in the Senate, members of the Armed Services Committee voted to strip money from the base bill that would have funded moving the terrorists to Thomson.
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