The Senate denied Obama the money to shut down the prison, in part because Democrats didn't want to be seen as soft on terrorism.
Wednesday's 90-to-6 vote in the Senate to block the closure of the Guantánamo detention facility followed a weeks-long Republican blitz, which argued that closing the military prison would “release deadly terrorists in American neighborhoods."
The issue comes at a time when many Democrats believe they have begun to chip away at the GOP's decades-long status as the trusted party on security issues. Some Democratic senators worried that closing Guantánamo – in the absence of a credible plan from the White House – might undermine that progress, allowing Republicans to cast them as soft on terror.
Democrats at first dismissed the argument. But by Wednesday, all but six Democrats voted with a united GOP caucus to strip $80 million earmarked for the closure of Guantánamo. It had been part of a $91.3 billion defense supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The vote coincides with a new poll that shows Democrats at parity with Republicans on the issue of national security for the first time since the Vietnam War.
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