The president lacks the legal authority to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and that will not change before he leaves office, the Republican head of the House Homeland Security Committee said Friday.

"The answer is no," Texas Rep. Michael McCaul said in a Fox News interview responding to the question of whether the president could make the move happen. "We passed the national defense authorization bill last Congress that prohibits him from closing Guantanamo Bay. That bill is up for reauthorization … I'm a conferee to the report, and we are going to hold firm on this."

"He just released 15 of some of the most hardened terrorists, bin Laden's bodyguards, explosive experts and al Qaeda and Taliban commanders now released to the [United Arab Emirates], he wants to release 20 more," McCaul said.

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Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday that his "hope and expectation" was for the administration to shut down the facility, where 61 prisoners are still held, before the president leaves office in January. However, the White House has acknowledged there is no clear path to doing so, and spokesman Josh Earnest said it would take "a lot of diplomatic work."

McCaul said it wasn't going to happen, and that he wants to increase use of the facility after Obama leaves office. "One-third of those released have returned to the battlefield, and many of those have killed Americans since then," McCaul said. "Congress has invested a lot of money into this facility."

"I would also argue that when we do apprehend terrorists on the battlefield, that we move them to Guantanamo for interrogation," he added. "There is a great intelligence value to interrogating these terrorists. Drone strikes are great for taking them off the battlefield, but there is also a high value to interrogation in terms of disrupting future plots against the United States and the homeland."