Obama’s Army Secretary Pick Stuck in Senate

Posted September 14, 2009 at 3:38pm

While President Barack Obama will likely ask Congress to approve sending thousands of additional military troops to Afghanistan in the coming weeks, his nominee to the lead the Army, Rep. John McHugh, remains the subject of a hold in the Senate. McHugh, the eight-term Republican from upstate New York, is one of several executive branch nominees being held up by Kansas GOP Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback. The Republican Senators are demanding assurances from the Obama administration that no detainees from the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, facility would be transferred to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. “I hope that we can get to this nomination next week. It’s long overdue that we vote on it,— Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said at a press conference last week.Levin said that Brownback and Roberts had met with administration officials to discuss McHugh’s nomination, noting, “We’ve [done] everything we can do to remove the holds.—Spokesmen for Brownback and Roberts did not return requests for comment Monday.Members of both parties have called on Obama to offer a detailed plan for closing Guantánamo Bay, an initiative the president championed earlier this year but that met much resistance on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, the White House charged a newly formed internal task force with developing the administration’s new terrorist detention policies. A recommendation from that task force is expected to be released no later than January. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense last week approved a $636.3 billion spending bill but did not include funding to close Guantánamo Bay. Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said, “the administration has yet to produce a credible plan.—