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 AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (R-N.H.) and backed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's dangerous Guantánamo fixation will fuel fire for terrorists Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Ad encourages GOP senator to vote 'no' on tax bill MORE (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Graham on Moore: 'We are about to give away a seat' key to Trump's agenda Tax plans show Congress putting donors over voters MORE (R-S.C.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Energy: Chemical safety regulator's nomination at risk | Watchdog scolds Zinke on travel records | Keystone pipeline spills 210,000 gallons of oil Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog Collins ‘leaning against’ Trump EPA chemical nominee 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.