"Will the President be ready to do an executive order to close Guantanamo?" Earnest was asked by a foreign reporter.
"The President has indicated a willingness to use as much of his executive authority as he can to try to take the steps that he believes are consistent with the national security interests of the United States and that's closing the prison of Guantanamo Bay. He does not believe that the millions of dollars that are expended every year to keep that prison open is a good use of taxpayer resources. It's not. In fact, it's counterproductive," Earnest said. "Unfortunately, we've not seen cooperation from Congress in this regard. In fact, we've seen members of Congress repeatedly go to great lengths to prevent the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. That's been the source of a lot of disappointment to the president but it hasn't prevented him from continuing to push his team to try to go as far as we can to reduce the population there and ultimately get to a place where we can close that prison."
Earnest is using the same justification for closing Guantanamo Bay that was used for President Obama's executive action on illegal immigration last year. Congress hasn't acted in the way President Obama wants, so he'll do what he wants alone via executive fiat.
Over the past few years the Obama administration has been defacto closing GITMO by releasing prisoners. One of the most controversial prisoner releases happened last summer when President Obama swapped five high-level Taliban commanders for alleged deserter and Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The majority of the prisoners released from GITMO have returned to the terror battle field against the United States.