Senate Republicans are hoping to crack down on President Obama's ability to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees as he works to shutter the controversial Cuban prison in his final year.
Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Biden's FDA nominee advances through key Senate committee The 10 races that will decide the Senate majority MORE (R-N.H.) introduced legislation Tuesday to prohibit permanently closing the facility. Her proposal would make permanent a current ban on bringing detainees into the United States and block the White House from releasing detainees to other countries through September 2017.
"Our nation needs a common-sense detention and interrogation policy that keeps captured terrorists off the battlefield and enables us to gather the intelligence necessary to prevent future attacks," she said in a statement. "This administration seems more interested in releasing terrorists and bringing the remainder to the United States in order to close Guantanamo and fulfill a misguided and dangerous campaign promise."
GOP Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Pelosi says she's open to stock trading ban for Congress Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks MORE (N.C.), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense & National Security — White House raises new alarm over Russia Biden sparks confusion, cleanup on Russia-Ukraine remarks Republicans say Mayorkas failed to deliver report on evacuated Afghans MORE (Okla.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerUS maintains pressure on Russia amid concerns of potential Ukraine invasion Sunday shows - Russia standoff over Ukraine dominates Wicker: Biden comments on Ukraine caused 'distress' for both parties MORE (Miss.), Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsBiden remembers Dole as 'master of the Senate' at National Cathedral Bob Dole: heroic, prickly and effective McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE (Kan.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court allows lawsuits against Texas abortion ban Rapper French Montana talks opioid epidemic, immigration on Capitol Hill MORE (S.C.), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoLobbying world Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster Like it or not, all roads forward for Democrats go through Joe Manchin MORE (W.Va.), Steve Daines (Mont.), and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs MORE (Kan.) have signed onto Ayotte's legislation.
Ayotte has also placed a hold on Jennifer O'Connor's nomination to be the Pentagon's general counsel as she angles to get the administration to hand over information on Guantanamo Bay detainee transfers.
Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkBiden's relationship with 'Joe-Joe' Manchin hits the rocks Let's fix America's accounting problem — starting with Build Back Better Duckworth announces reelection bid MORE (R-Ill.) also introduced legislation this week to limit the administration's ability to transfer detainees to unstable countries or state sponsors of terrorism.
Countries that would be impacted by the ban include Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Iran.
"Allowing the transfer of these dangerous criminals to terror hotspots only makes it easier for them to re-join in the fight against America," Kirk said.
Republican Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Lobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage MORE (Utah), Cory GardnerCory GardnerEleven interesting races to watch in 2022 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Gun control group alleges campaign finance violations in lawsuit against NRA MORE (Colo.), James Lankford (Oka.), James Inhofe (Okla.) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) have signed onto Kirk's bill.
The administration handed over a plan to close the facility earlier this year, including moving some detainees into the United States. The move would allow the president to fulfill a long-standing campaign pledge.
Republicans, however, quickly panned his plan.
The new GOP bills come after the Pentagon announced Monday that it had transferred two Guantanamo Bay detainees to Senegal. The Obama administration is working to reduce the prison's population and close the facility before the president leaves office.
The latest transfer brought the number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to 89.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) slammed Obama Tuesday for releasing detainees over concerns they could rejoin terrorist groups.
"This is precisely the wrong time to send experienced, hardened fighters back in to the conflict," he said. “We must use the remaining months of the Obama Administration as a year of transition to better posture our military to meet the threats we will face."
Republicans are also pushing the Obama administration to present a new plan to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after terrorist attacks in Brussels last month.
This story was updated at 4:32 p.m.