Levin: No changes coming to detainee provisions in Senate defense bill

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinPresident Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Republicans can learn from John McCain’s heroism Trump and GOP wise to keep tax reform and infrastructure separate MORE (D-Mich.) said he does not plan to make any changes to the detainee language in the Senate's defense authorization bill, which was recently struck down by a U.S. District Court in New York.

Levin told reporters Tuesday he was “satisfied” with the language that was in last year’s defense bill, and he disagreed with the way the court interpreted the law.

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“We did not change the law in last year’s bill on this subject at all,” Levin told reporters Tuesday. “We didn’t change what the rights of the president are.”

He added that he was confident that the administration would be able to appeal the District Court ruling.

In the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Mark UdallMark UdallDemocratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Gorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' MORE (D-Colo.) has said he plans to change last year’s detainee language, and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems call for action against Cassidy-Graham ObamaCare repeal Feinstein pushes back on Trump’s N. Korea policy Feinstein on reelection bid: ‘We will see’ MORE (D-Calif.) has also indicated she supports altering the provisions.

The defense authorization bill is being marked up in committee this week, giving Udall an opportunity to try to alter the language. Feinstein can introduce amendments when the bill is on the Senate floor.

While Levin said he did not anticipate updating the language, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-Ariz.) suggested Tuesday that he and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) might try to introduce clarifying provisions if there are attempts to make changes to last year's detainee provisions.

The House included language in this year's authorization bill that said the indefinite detention provisions did not impede on habeas corpus rights.

The detainee language in last year’s bill stalled the authorization measure, and the controversy eventually pitted Levin against the Obama administration. The fight was over mandatory military detention for terror suspects, with opponents of the language claiming it would allow for U.S. citizens to be detained indefinitely.

A compromise was eventually reached that said nothing in the law changed how U.S. citizens are affected by military detention, falling back to language in the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Levin said that was sufficient for him.

“How much clearer can you say, ‘We’re not making any change in the law?’” he said.