Now, however, Obama is not in the mood to abide by anything Congress says. And he is again talking about closing Guantanamo.
The result could be an ugly and protracted fight between the president and lawmakers of both parties. But it's also possible Obama will avoid a conflict and simply use his executive authority to release a prisoner here, a prisoner there, until Guantanamo is very nearly empty -- all done without any meaningful debate.
Meanwhile, as he has done with immigration, the environment and Cuba, Obama will essentially dare Congress to do anything about it. It's all part of the new executive-action presidency.
Back in 2010, when the House and Senate were still controlled by Democrats, huge bipartisan majorities opposed Obama's plan to close Guantanamo and transfer its inmates to the United States. A defense spending bill passed unanimously by the Senate in December 2010 barred the president from spending any funds to transfer inmates to the United States or to close the prison.