Detainee debate heats up in Senate

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There are also disputes between the White House and the panel over how to handle detainees kept at Guantánamo Bay.

Initially, the Armed Services panel had mandated that Guantánamo suspects could not be transferred from the facility indefinitely. The bill was changed to restrict transfers to one year, but the Obama administration said that is still too burdensome.

The Defense bill passed out of committee unanimously earlier this month, but two Senate committee chairmen, Judiciary Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyStudent rips DeVos at school safety commission for failure to take on guns DeVos: Safety commission won’t focus on role of guns in school violence Stakeholder group urges Senate panel to fund Amtrak, Northeast Corridor MORE (D-Vt.) and Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinWhite House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies Senate rejects effort to boost Congress's national security oversight Top Dems: IG report shows Comey's actions helped Trump win election MORE (D-Calif.), joined the Obama administration in objecting to the detainee provisions.

Levin and McCain, meanwhile, are pushing to keep public support on their side, penning an op-ed in The Washington Post Monday titled “A Balanced Approach to Detainees.”

"We hope our colleagues, President Obama and his advisers will recognize the substantial work we have done to accommodate their concerns and work with us to pass a bill that honors our values and protects our nation," they wrote. 

There are currently more than 200 amendments to the Defense bill, many of which seek to change or remove the detainee provisions in the bill.