Sen. Udall won't push change to detainee laws until bill hits floor

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is bypassing a fight in committee on indefinite detention laws, waiting until the Defense authorization bill moves to the floor to try to change the law that passed last year.

Udall told The Hill he submitted and withdrew his indefinite detention amendment in the Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the defense bill, which just concluded in a closed session on Thursday.

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Instead, Udall said he will wait to offer the amendment before the full Senate, where he will likely have the backing of Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Udall wants to change laws that allow for indefinite detention of terrorist suspects who are captured on U.S. soil. The issue generated criticism when it was included in last year’s Defense authorization bill.

Udall told The Hill his amendment will be similar to the one offered by House Armed Services ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

Udall said he still had to study that amendment, which failed in the House, before he finalized the language in his.

Supporters of the indefinite detention laws, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), say that last year's legislation only codified already existing laws.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a vocal supporter of the detention provisions, says she is also planning at least one amendment, and maybe more, for the floor debate.

She said she will have an amendment that restricts transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. soil, a provision that was also included in last year’s bill.

This story was updated at 1:37 p.m.