First Openly Gay Army Secretary Nominee Stalled by Single Senator

In this Jan. 21, 2016 file photo, Army Secretary nominee Eric Fanning testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas is blocking a vote on the nomination of Fanning to be the next Army secretary. At issue are efforts by the president to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer detainees to the United States. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) AP

It's been eight months since President Barack Obama nominated Eric Fanning to become secretary of the Army — the first openly gay man to be recommended to that branch's highest ranking civilian position, NBC News reported.

But Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is holding up Fanning's confirmation because the lawmaker wants Obama to promise not to move Guantanamo Bay detainees to the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, military installation.

"If the White House calls and assures me that terrorists held at Guantanamo will not come to Ft. Leavenworth, I will release the hold - immediately," Roberts said on the Senate floor late last month, adding that he supports Fanning for the post.

The standoff stems from the president's announcement of a long-anticipated pitch to Congress in February to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Keeping the prison open, the president said, is "contrary to our values."

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