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WH threatens to veto bill limiting Gitmo transfers

President Obama would veto a bill offered by Senate Republicans that would effectively block the transfer of detainees from Guantánamo Bay for the remainder of his presidency, the White House said Thursday.

The bill would suspend the transfer of high- or medium-risk terror suspects, and prohibit the president from sending a detainee to a country where a former Guantánamo prisoner returned and reengaged in terrorist activities.

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It would also repeal an existing law that gives the president authority to transfer detainees, and reinstate a ban on detainees being returned to Yemen, which is currently undergoing a tumultuous and violent political transition.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the legislation would put "more constraints on a process that should be actually working faster," according to the Associated Press. He reiterated the White House's position that the prison at Guantánamo put U.S. national security at risk. 

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (R-N.H.) and backed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (R-S.C.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Finance: Senate rejects Trump immigration plan | U.S. Bancorp to pay 0M in fines for lacking money laundering protections | Cryptocurrency market overcharges users | Prudential fights to loosen oversight Senators introduce bill to help businesses with trade complaints Our intelligence chiefs just want to tell the truth about national security MORE (R-N.C.).

"The barbaric attacks in France underscore the threat posed by Islamist terrorism and the need for a common sense detention and interrogation policy to gather the intelligence necessary to prevent future attacks," Ayotte said when introducing the bill.

"Unfortunately, to fulfill a misguided campaign promise, the administration seems to be more interested in emptying and closing Guantánamo, rather than protecting the national security interests of the United States and the lives of Americans," she added.

Ayotte introduced the bill as the administration steps up its transfers of detainees.