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114th Congress    }                                       {     Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                       {    114-496

======================================================================
 
      UNITED STATES NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY PRESERVATION ACT

                                _______
                                

 April 15, 2016.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Royce, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 4678]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Foreign Affairs, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 4678) to prohibit modification, abrogation, 
abandonment, or other related actions with respect to United 
States jurisdiction and control over United States Naval 
Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without congressional action, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Background and Purpose...........................................     2
Hearings.........................................................     7
Committee Consideration..........................................     7
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     7
New Budget Authority, Tax Expenditures, and Federal Mandates.....     8
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     8
Directed Rule Making.............................................     9
Non-Duplication of Federal Programs..............................     9
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     9
Congressional Accountability Act.................................     9
New Advisory Committees..........................................     9
Earmark Identification...........................................     9
Presidential Signature Page of the 1903 Lease to the United 
  States by the Government of Cuba...............................    10
Dissenting Views.................................................    11

                         Background and Purpose

    For over a century, the United States Naval Station at 
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been a critical asset for the defense 
of the United States and our promotion of stability and 
humanitarian welfare in the Western Hemisphere. The legal 
history of the base has its origins in acts of Congress. United 
States jurisdiction and control over the base is derived not 
from a treaty, but from 1903 lease agreements with Cuba that 
were both authorized and required by Congress, a fact that was 
expressly recognized by the President who signed them.
    For decades, the repressive Castro regime has publicly 
demanded that the United States return the Guantanamo base to 
Cuba, a demand most recently reiterated by President Raul 
Castro during a March 21, 2016, press conference with President 
Obama in Havana. During that meeting, President Castro again 
demanded the return of Guantanamo as a ``necessary'' 
prerequisite to the normalization of relations with the United 
States.
    Although U.S. officials have stated that the United States 
``has no plans'' to alter any of the arrangements regarding the 
base, that is not the same thing as categorically pledging that 
the United States will not do so. The Obama administration has 
previously made dramatic shifts in U.S. policy toward Cuba 
without prior consultation with Congress. For example, when 
then-Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken was asked in 
November 2014 whether any policy changes toward Cuba were under 
consideration, he assured Congress that ``anything that in the 
future might be done on Cuba would be done in full 
consultation'' with Congress, ``with the real meaning of the 
word consultation.''\1\ Yet less than a month later, without 
any such consultation, the administration announced the 
reestablishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba and the 
release of convicted Cuban spies, which apparently had resulted 
from more than a year of secret administration negotiations 
with the Castro regime.
    H.R. 4678 does not categorically prohibit the return of the 
Guantanamo base or the renegotiation of the lease, but makes 
clear that Congress must affirmatively authorize any action 
that would affect or impair the jurisdiction or control that 
the United States has exercised over the Naval Station for more 
than 112 years.
U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Remains Indispensable
    Senior United States military leaders have consistently 
voiced strong support for maintaining U.S. Naval Station 
Guantanamo Bay, calling it ``indispensable'' and ``essential,'' 
and noting its strategic value for military basing and 
logistics, disaster relief, humanitarian work, terrorist 
detention, and counter-narcotics purposes.
    On February 29, 2016, Secretary of Defense Ashton B. 
Carter, discussing the base, stated that ``it's a strategic 
location, we've had it for a long time, it's important to us, 
and we intend to hold on to it.''
    On March 12, 2015, Commander of United States Southern 
Command, General John Kelly, testified that the United States 
facilities at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay ``are indispensable 
to the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State's 
operational and contingency plans.'' General Kelly noted that, 
``As the only permanent U.S. military base in Latin America and 
the Caribbean, its location provides persistent U.S. presence 
and immediate access to the region, as well as supporting a 
layered defense to secure the air and maritime approaches to 
the United States.''
    In testimony before Congress in 2012, then-Commander of 
United States Southern Command, General Douglas Fraser, stated 
that ``the strategic capability provided by U.S. Naval Station 
Guantanamo Bay remains essential for executing national 
priorities throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and South 
America.''
    The utility of the base is not merely military, but also 
humanitarian. Following a 1991 coup in Haiti that prompted a 
mass exodus of people by boat, U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo 
Bay provided a location for temporary housing and the orderly 
adjudication of asylum claims outside of the continental United 
States. In 2010, the base was a critical hub for the provision 
of humanitarian disaster relief following the devastating 
earthquakes in Haiti.
U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is Rooted in Acts of Congress
    The complex legal history of U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo 
Bay is uniquely rooted in acts of Congress in the period 
leading up to and following the 1898 Spanish-American War, 
which freed Cuba from colonial domination by Spain. In 
assessing that history, it is useful to recall the express 
constitutional powers of Congress:

         Lto provide for the common defense (Art. I, 
        Sec. 8, cl. 1);
         Lto provide and maintain a Navy (Art. I, 
        Sec. 8, cl. 13);
         Lto declare war (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 11); and
         Lto make all necessary rules and regulations 
        regarding U.S. territory or other property (Art. IV, 
        Sec. 3, cl. 2).

    In 1895, Cuban forces led by Jose Marti resumed the fight 
for Cuban independence from Spain. The proximity of the violent 
conflict to the United States, the brutality of Spanish 
authorities toward the people of Cuba, and the distaste for 
European colonial involvement in the Western Hemisphere 
increased American sympathies for the Cuban cause. After the 
U.S. battleship Maine mysteriously exploded and sank in Havana 
harbor in February 1898, killing more than 260 U.S. sailors, a 
reluctant President McKinley was pushed to demand independence 
for Cuba.
    By joint resolution approved on April 20, 1898, Congress 
recognized the independence of the people of Cuba and 
``directed and empowered'' the President ``to use the entire 
land and naval forces of the United States'' to ensure that the 
Government of Spain ``relinquish its authority and government 
in the island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces 
from Cuba and Cuban waters.'' A successful amendment offered by 
Senator Henry Teller of Colorado to that joint resolution 
(commonly known as the ``Teller Amendment'') disavowed any 
intention by the United States to exercise long-term 
sovereignty over Cuba, and expressed the determination that, 
after the island was pacified, the government of Cuba would be 
returned to its people.
    The Government of Spain rejected the U.S. call for Cuban 
independence, President McKinley instituted a naval blockade of 
Havana, and Spain severed diplomatic relations with the United 
States.
    On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war against Spain. 
After a decisive American victory in the months that followed, 
the United States and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris on 
December 10, 1898, which (upon ratification the following 
April) ended Spain's colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. 
In that Treaty, Spain relinquished all claims of sovereignty 
over Cuba, and United States governance of Cuba was 
established.\2\
    Nearly three years later, in an Act approved on March 2, 
1901, Congress acted ``in fulfillment of'' the Teller Amendment 
by granting the President the authority to return ``the 
government and control of the island of Cuba to its people'' 
subject to eight express preconditions, in a statutory text 
that was commonly known as the ``Platt Amendment.''\3\ Those 
preconditions included securing a commitment from Cuba to sell 
or lease to the United States lands necessary for naval 
stations ``to enable the United States to maintain the 
independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as 
well as for its own defense.''\4\ That 1901 Act of Congress was 
specifically cited, and its preconditions (including the naval 
station leasing requirement) were incorporated verbatim, in 
both the 1901 Constitution of the Republic of Cuba and the 
Treaty of Relations between the United States of America and 
the Republic of Cuba signed at Havana on May 22, 1903.
    According to the ``views of the Executive Department of our 
Government'' at the time, the Acts of Congress incorporating 
the Teller and Platt Amendments provided authority to the 
President that he did not otherwise possess, and also 
established ``limitations upon the power of the Executive'' in 
exercising that authority.\5\ The Teller Amendment ensured that 
United States could not annex Cuba, as it did Guam, Puerto Rico 
and the Philippines at the conclusion of the war that Congress 
had declared.\6\ The Platt Amendment established prerequisites 
(including securing a commitment from Cuba to sell or lease 
lands for a U.S. naval station) ``which Congress has made a 
condition precedent to the President's leaving the government 
and control of the island of Cuba to its people.''\7\
    The essential role of Congress is manifest in the case of 
the Platt Amendment, where the executive branch recognized 
Congressional action as necessary, even though the draft text 
of the amendment had been written by Secretary of War Elihu 
Root, was approved by the President and his cabinet, and was 
personally handed by President McKinley to Senator Platt, who 
then offered the amendment at the request of the 
administration, with minor changes.\8\ Not only was action by 
Congress necessary but, once taken, it was binding upon the 
executive branch, to the extent that the President disclaimed 
the ability to end U.S. military governance of the island until 
those conditions had been satisfied. In a message approved by 
President McKinley, Secretary Root made this clear to the Cuban 
Constitutional Convention:

          ``[L]et me recall the relation which the President 
        bears to the so-called Platt Amendment. That statute 
        having been enacted by the law-making power of the 
        United States, the President is bound to execute it, 
        and to execute it as it is. He cannot change or modify, 
        add to or subtract from it. The executive action called 
        for by the statute is the withdrawal of the army from 
        Cuba, and the statute authorizes that action when, and 
        only when, a government shall have been established 
        under a Constitution which contains, either in the body 
        thereof or in an ordinance annexed thereto, certain 
        definite provisions specified in the statute.''\9\

    Pursuant to article VII of the Platt Amendment, the United 
States and Cuba negotiated and concluded lease agreements in 
1903, which specified the area and the terms of United States 
jurisdiction and control over what became United States Naval 
Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.\10\
    When approving the Guantanamo naval station lease on 
October 2, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt\11\ cited the 
1901 Act of Congress as providing his authority to do so:

          ``I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United 
        States of America, having seen and considered the 
        foregoing lease, do hereby approve the same, by virtue 
        of the authority conferred by the seventh of the 
        provisions defining the relations which are to exist 
        between the United States and Cuba, contained in the 
        Act of Congress approved March 2, 1901, entitled `An 
        Act making appropriation for the support of the Army 
        for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1902.'''\12\

    Today, the United States continues to exercise jurisdiction 
and control over Naval Station Guantanamo Bay pursuant to those 
1903 lease agreements with Cuba. While the 1934 Treaty of 
Relations between the United States and Cuba (ratified with the 
consent of the Senate) did away with other, controversial 
aspects of the Platt Amendment as part of President Franklin 
Roosevelt's ``Good Neighbor Policy'' toward the Western 
Hemisphere (see note 3), it deliberately did not supersede, 
abrogate, or modify the Guantanamo lease agreements, which Cuba 
and the United states chose to leave intact. Article III of 
that Treaty expressly notes that the stipulations of those 1903 
bilateral agreements ``shall continue in effect'' until the 
United States and Cuba agree to modify them.\13\
    In sum, the Act of Congress approved on March 2, 1901 
required the acquisition of U.S. naval basing rights as an 
express condition of the authority that Congress gave the 
President to return governance of Cuba to the people of Cuba in 
the years following the Spanish-American War. The President 
made use of that authority, and completed his obligation to 
fulfill that condition by negotiating and executing the 1903 
lease agreements, pursuant to which the United States continues 
to exercise jurisdiction and control over U.S. Naval Station 
Guantanamo Bay.
    Any action by a subsequent President to impair that 
jurisdiction and control--such as by returning or abandoning 
the Guantanamo base--without express congressional 
authorization would nullify the U.S. naval station requirement 
of the Act of Congress approved on March 2, 1901, an 
institutional injury for which no legislative remedy exists.
    For this reason, H.R. 4678 clearly states that:

          ``No action may be taken to modify, abrogate, or 
        replace the stipulations, agreements, and commitments 
        contained in the Guantanamo Lease Agreements, or to 
        impair or abandon the jurisdiction and control of the 
        United States over United States Naval Station, 
        Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unless specifically authorized or 
        otherwise provided by----

                  (1) a statute that is enacted on or after the 
                date of the enactment of this Act;

                  (2) a treaty that is ratified with the advice 
                and consent of the Senate on or after the date 
                of the enactment of this Act; or

                  (3) a modification of the Treaty Between the 
                United States of America and Cuba signed at 
                Washington, DC, on May 29, 1934, that is 
                ratified with the advice and consent of the 
                Senate on or after the date of the enactment of 
                this Act.''
___

NOTES

\1\Nomination of Mr. Antony Blinken of New York, to be Deputy Secretary 
of State: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United 
State Senate. 113th Cong. (November 19, 2014).

\2\As a consequence of the Joint Resolution of April 20, 1898, which 
incorporated the Teller Amendment, Cuba was treated differently than 
the other colonies relinquished by Spain. In contrast, the United 
States asserted unqualified sovereignty over the Philippines, Puerto 
Rico, and Guam at the conclusion of the War.

\3\The provisos governing the return of sovereignty to Cuba were added 
by an amendment offered by Senator Orville Platt of Connecticut that 
was incorporated in the Act of March 2, 1901, ``An Act Making 
appropriation for the support of the Army for the fiscal year ending 
June thirtieth, nineteen hundred and two'' (Chapter 803; 31 Stat. 898). 
Certain aspects of the Platt Amendment--such as the limitations on 
Cuba's ability to conclude treaties with foreign powers, and Cuba's 
prospective consent to future intervention by the United States to 
preserve Cuban independence--were controversial among those who viewed 
them as undue constraints on Cuban sovereignty. Eventually, those 
provisions were abrogated by the 1934 Treaty of Relations between the 
United States and Cuba, as ratified with the consent of the U.S. 
Senate, as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's ``Good Neighbor 
Policy'' toward the Western Hemisphere. As discussed below, Cuba and 
the United States expressly chose to continue the Guantanamo leasing 
arrangements, which the 1934 Treaty expressly left intact.

\4\The Act of March 2, 1901 (Chapter 803; 31 Stat. 898) states in 
relevant part:

        ``That in fulfillment of the declaration contained in the joint 
        resolution approved April twentieth, eighteen hundred and 
        ninety-eight . . . the President is hereby authorized to `leave 
        the government and control of the island of Cuba to its people' 
        so soon as a government shall have been established in said 
        island under a constitution which, either as a part thereof or 
        in an ordinance appended thereto, shall define the future 
        relations of the United States with Cuba, substantially as 
        follows:

        . . .

        VII. That to enable the United States to maintain the 
        independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as 
        well as for its own defense, the government of Cuba will sell 
        or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or 
        naval stations at certain specified points, to be agreed upon 
        with the President of the United States.''

\5\Instructions from Secretary of War Elihu Root to Major General 
Leonard Wood, Military Governor of Cuba (February 9, 1901), reprinted 
in Annual Reports of the War Department for the Fiscal Year Ended June 
30, 1901 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1901), 43.

\6\As directed by Secretary Root, Governor Wood explained to the Cuban 
Constitutional Convention that ``The limitations of the power of the 
Executive Department of our government by the Resolution of Congress of 
April 20, 1898 [i.e., the Teller Amendment], are such, that the final 
determination upon the whole subject may ultimately rest in Congress,'' 
and thus no views of executive branch officials ``can be construed as 
in any way committing the United States to any policy which should 
properly be determined by Congress.'' Letter of General Leonard Wood, 
Military Governor of Cuba, to Dr. Diego Tamayo, President of the 
Committee on Relations of the Cuban Constitutional Convention (February 
21, 1901), printed in Civil Report of Brigadier General Leonard Wood, 
Military Governor of Cuba, for the Period from January 1st to December 
31st 1901 (Government Printing Office), 10.

\7\Report of the Secretary of War (November 27, 1901), printed in 
Annual Reports of the War Department for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 
1901 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1901), 49.

\8\Editorial Comment, ``The Origin and Purpose of the Platt 
Amendment,'' American Journal of International Law 8 (1914), 585-91. 
Secretary Root's original language, which closely tracks the eventual 
text of the Platt Amendment, also can be found in his February 9, 1901 
instructions to Major-General Leonard Wood, the Military Governor of 
Cuba, reprinted in Annual Reports of the War Department for the Fiscal 
Year Ended June 30, 1901 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 
1901), 46.

\9\Letter of Secretary of War Elihu Root to Major General Leonard Wood, 
Military Governor of Cuba (May 31, 1901), printed in Civil Report of 
Brigadier General Leonard Wood, Military Governor of Cuba, for the 
Period from January 1st to December 31st 1901 (Washington, DC: 
Government Printing Office), 18. See also ``The Cubans Were Warned: 
Advised by Secretary Root Their Action Would Be Rejected.'' The New 
York Times, June 2, 1901.

\10\Specifically, the Agreement Between the United States of America 
and the Republic of Cuba for the Lease to the United States of Lands in 
Cuba for coaling and naval stations, signed by the President of the 
United States on February 23, 1903, and the Lease to the United States 
by the Government of Cuba of Certain Areas of Land and Water for Naval 
or Coaling Stations, signed by the President of the United States on 
October 2, 1903.

\11\After the assassination of President McKinley, his Vice President, 
Theodore Roosevelt, was sworn in as the 26th President of the United 
States on September 14, 1901.

\12\Lease to the United States by the Government of Cuba of Certain 
Areas of Land and Water for Naval or Coaling Stations, signed by the 
President of the United States on October 2, 1903.

\13\Treaty of Relations between the United States of America and the 
Republic of Cuba, 48 Stat. 1682, TS 866 (1934).

                                Hearings

    March 23, 2016, full committee hearing on ``The 
Administration's Plan to Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention 
Facility: At What Foreign Policy and National Security Cost?'' 
(Mr. Lee Wolosky, Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, U.S. 
Department of State; Mr. Paul M. Lewis, Special Envoy for 
Guantanamo Closure, U.S. Department of Defense); and
    February 25, 2016, full committee hearing on 
``Strengthening U.S. Leadership in a Turbulent World: The FY 
2017 Foreign Affairs Budget.''

                        Committee Consideration

    On March 16, 2016, the Foreign Affairs Committee marked up 
H.R. 4678 pursuant to notice, in open session. After committee 
debate, H.R. 4678 was agreed to by voice vote, and was ordered 
favorably reported by unanimous consent.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of rules of 
the House of Representatives, the committee reports that 
findings and recommendations of the committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of House Rule X, are 
incorporated in the descriptive portions of this report, 
particularly in the ``Background and Purpose'' section.

      New Budget Authority, Tax Expenditures, and Federal Mandates

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of House Rule XIII and 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (P.L. 104-4), the committee 
adopts as its own the estimate of new budget authority, 
entitlement authority, tax expenditure or revenues, and Federal 
mandates contained in the cost estimate prepared by the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 11, 2016.

Hon. Edward R. Royce, Chairman,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4678, the United 
States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Preservation Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sunita 
D'Monte, who can be reached at 226-2840.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall.
Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable Eliot L. Engel
        Ranking Member.
H.R. 4678--United States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Preservation Act.
    As ordered reported by the House Committee on Foreign 
Affairs on March 16, 2016
    H.R. 4678 would prohibit the President from modifying, 
repealing, or replacing the current lease agreement for the 
U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unless authorized 
to do so by the Congress through legislation, a new treaty 
ratified by the Senate, or a modification of the existing U.S. 
treaty with Cuba that would be ratified by the Senate. The 
Administration has stated that it does not intend to leave the 
naval base or alter the terms of the current lease agreement; 
therefore, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would have 
no effect on the federal budget.
    Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply because enacting H.R. 
4678 would not affect direct spending or revenues. CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 4678 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    H.R. 4678 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Sunita D'Monte. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                          Directed Rule Making

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of House Rule XIII, as modified by 
section 3(i) of H.Res. 5 during the 114th Congress, the 
committee notes that H.R. 4678 contains no directed rule-making 
provisions.

                  Non-Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of House Rule XIII, as modified by 
section 3(g)(2) of H.Res. 5 during the 114th Congress, the 
committee states that no provision of this bill establishes or 
reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government known to be 
duplicative of another Federal program, a program that was 
included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-
139, or a program related to a program identified in the most 
recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    H.R. 4678 is intended to ensure that Congress plays its 
proper constitutional role in any decision affecting the 
disposition of the United States Naval Station at Guantanamo 
Bay, Cuba, which has its origins in acts of Congress. It states 
clearly that no action may be taken to modify the Guantanamo 
base lease agreements, or otherwise impair the jurisdiction or 
control of the United States over that base, unless 
specifically authorized by Congress, either by statute or by 
Senate consent to a new treaty.

                    Congressional Accountability Act

    H.R. 4678 does not apply to terms and conditions of 
employment or to access to public services or accommodations 
within the legislative branch.

                        New Advisory Committees

    H.R. 4678 does not establish or authorize any new advisory 
committees.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 4678 contains no congressional earmarks, limited tax 
benefits, or limited tariff benefits as described in clauses 
9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of House Rule XXI.

 Presidential Signature Page of the 1903 Lease to the United States by 
the Government of Cuba of Certain Areas of Land and Water for Naval or 
                            Coaling Stations


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                              ----------                              


                  (Courtesy of the National Archives)

                            Dissenting Views

    H.R. 4678, the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay 
Preservation Act, is unnecessary legislation. I respectfully 
dissent and urge opposition to the bill.
    While I agree with both President Barack Obama and 
President George W. Bush that the United States must close the 
detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, I believe that the Naval 
Station at Guantanamo Bay serves a number of worthy, national 
security purposes. As just one example, after the devastating 
earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the Naval Station was used as a 
critical logistical hub for our response.
    This legislation prohibits any changes to existing United 
States control over the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay 
without congressional action through (1) legislation; (2) a new 
treaty ratified by the Senate; or (3) a modification of the 
existing treaty also ratified by the Senate.
    This bill is unnecessary as President Obama has made it 
clear that he has no plans to alter the current lease agreement 
over the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay with the Cuban 
Government.
    In preparation for committee consideration of H.R. 4678, I 
sent a letter to President Obama asking if his administration 
had any plans to return the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay to 
the Cuban Government. On March 11, 2016, I received a response 
from Department of State Assistant Secretary for Legislative 
Affairs Julia Frifield stating that, ``The Administration has 
no plans to alter the existing lease treaty, payments and other 
arrangements with Cuba related to the Guantanamo Bay Naval 
Station.'' This letter is attached.
    The letter further explains that the Guantanamo Bay Naval 
Station will continue to serve an important role for the United 
States, even after the detention facility closes, including in 
support of ``U.S. Coast Guard and other agency counter-drug and 
migrant interdiction activities.''
    The Committee on Foreign Affairs considered H.R. 4678 
immediately prior to President Obama's March 20-22, 2016, trip 
to Cuba with a goal of politicizing the issue. During this 
trip, President Obama continued to ignore tired, decades-old 
demands from the Cuban Government that the United States return 
the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay. There is no plan nor has 
there ever been any plan to return the Naval Station at 
Guantanamo Bay to the Cuban Government.
    Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree that the United 
States base at Guantanamo Bay serves several key, national 
security purposes. But, that does not mean that we need 
unnecessary legislation solely intended to undermine our 
President. President Obama has been clear that he does not 
intend to return the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay to the 
Cuban Government, and we should take his commitment at face 
value.
    For the above reasons, I strongly oppose H.R. 4678 and urge 
my colleagues to join me in opposition.

                                   Eliot L. Engel.
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