Player of the Week: Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)

 It is rare for Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinTrump and GOP wise to keep tax reform and infrastructure separate Former senator investigated man in Trump Jr. meeting for money laundering Dems abuse yet another Senate tradition to block Trump's agenda MORE (D-Mich.) and President Obama to be publicly at odds on anything. 

But on language about detainees in Levin’s defense authorization bill, they disagree sharply.

Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, takes issue with Obama over how terror suspects should be prosecuted and detained. The White House this month threatened to veto Levin’s bill, claiming it would tie the hands of intelligence and law-enforcement officials. 

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report OPINION | McConnell attempt to butcher ObamaCare is political malpractice Live coverage: Senate heads for dramatic healthcare repeal vote MORE (R-Ariz.), ranking member on the panel, who was defeated by Obama in the 2008 presidential race, accused the administration of playing politics with its veto threat.

Levin and McCain are not backing down. On Monday, they penned an op-ed in The Washington Post defending their measure and noting that it was unanimously approved by the Armed Services Committee.

The bill stipulates that al Qaeda terror suspects should be taken into military custody, though it provides a waiver for the executive branch to move suspects under the jurisdiction of federal law enforcement officials.

There are powerful congressional critics of the Levin-McCain provisions, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels Live coverage: Trump's FBI nominee questioned by senators AT&T, senators spar over customers' right to sue MORE (D-Vt.) and Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinSenate Judiciary subpoenas Manafort Overnight Cybersecurity: Kushner says no collusion, improper contacts with Russia | House poised to vote on Russia sanctions | U.S., Japan to beef up cyber cooperation Feinstein calls for Sessions to appear in front of Senate Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Calif.). 

This is all a headache for Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE (D-Nev.), who wanted the bill approved before Thanksgiving. 

Still, the Senate is scheduled to bring the legislation forward this week. How Levin handles this delicate issue will be revealing. He wants his language in the law but does not want to provide political ammunition to Republicans running to oust Obama from the White House in next year’s election. 

Asked by The Hill if he was given advance warning by the White House before the veto threat, Levin didn’t answer directly, saying he assumed the administration would threaten a veto. 

In many ways, the fight over the detainee language is the latest in the never-ending battle between the executive and legislative branches. And both sides are refusing to blink.