Congress banned moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States in the $607 billion defense policy bill sent President Barack Obama Tuesday, thwarting a move Obama has been trying to make since taking office.
The Senate’s 91-3 vote gave final legislative approval to the measure. The House overwhelmingly passed it last week, 370-58.
Obama is expected to sign the bill, but it does not change his position about wanting to close the prison.
Obama vetoed an earlier version of the defense policy bill over a dispute, later resolved, about whether defense spending increases should be accompanied by boosts in domestic programs.
Among other things, the bill would:
—Provide a 1.3 percent pay increase to service members and a new retirement option for troops.
—Authorize lethal assistance to Ukraine forces fighting Russian-backed rebels.
—Extend a ban on torture to the CIA.
—Authorize the president’s request of $715 million to help Iraqi forces fight Islamic State militants.
“We all know the unfortunate and unnecessary roadblocks the defense authorization bill has faced this year. We all know that the president decided to veto the version of this bill we passed last month,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“We look forward to the president signing the bipartisan bill — along with its restrictions against bringing terrorists into the United States — into law,” he said.
The legislation has become a lightning rod for debate over whether the president needs congressional approval to move some of the remaining 112 detainees from the U.S. detention center in Cuba to the United States, or if he could do it with an executive order.
Congress has repeatedly thwarted Obama’s effort to fulfill a 2008 campaign promise and close the military prison.
A Pentagon report expected as early as this week identifies prisons in Colorado, Kansas and South Carolina where Guantanamo detainees could possibly be housed so the military prison in Cuba could be shut down. That has raised the ire of lawmakers, especially those from the three states.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest hinted last week that the president might use his executive authority to close the prison.
The facilities reviewed by a Pentagon assessment team were the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and Midwest Joint Regional Corrections Facility at Leavenworth, Kansas; the Consolidated Naval Brig, Charleston, South Carolina; the Federal Correctional Complex, which includes the medium, maximum and supermax facilities in Florence, Colorado; and the Colorado State Penitentiary II in Canon City, Colorado, also known as the Centennial Correctional Facility.
The Senate also passed, 93-0, legislation that provides money to the Defense Department for military construction, military family housing, base closures and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Like the defense bill, the measure, which now goes to the president, also prohibits the administration from renovating, expanding or constructing facilities in the United States to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
The Associated Press contributed to this article