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 AyotteNew Hampshire governor signs controversial voting bill Former Arizona senator to shepherd Supreme Court nominee through confirmation process Shut the back door to America's opioid epidemic MORE (R-N.H.) and backed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainObama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamQuestions mount over Trump-Putin discussions The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Overnight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria MORE (R-S.C.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrCongress should build upon the ABLE Act, giving more Americans with disabilities access to financial tools Christine Todd Whitman: Trump should step down over Putin press conference GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki 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.