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

 It is rare for Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinCongress: The sleeping watchdog Congress must not give companies tax reasons to move jobs overseas A lesson on abuse of power by Obama and his Senate allies 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.

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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 Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress 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 Joseph LeahyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign America isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Your tax dollars fund Afghan child rape MORE (D-Vt.) and Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (D-Calif.). 

This is all a headache for Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama 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.