Getty Images

Scrutiny is mounting on a House bill to outline policy for the nation’s spy agencies.

The White House threatened to veto the fiscal 2016 Intelligence Authorization Act on Monday evening, and many Democrats seem poised to oppose the bill when it comes up for a vote on Tuesday afternoon.

Liberals, along with a handful of libertarian Republicans, oppose provisions to limit the transfer of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, as well as what they call GOP budget tricks to avoid federal spending caps, restrictions on sharing information to foreign countries and new boundaries for privacy watchdogs.

{mosads}“If this bill were presented to the president, the president’s senior advisors would recommend to the president that he veto it,” the White House said in its Monday evening statement of administration policy.

The annual policy bill outlines priorities for the CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), FBI and the rest of the 16 federal intelligence agencies.

Though the bill passed out of the House Intelligence Committee on a unanimous voice vote, key Democrats have raised concerns about the legislation. 

In particular, they have opposed a portion of the bill banning the Obama administration from transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States or a foreign “combat zone.” While closing the detention facility was one of President Obama’s campaign pledges, he has been repeatedly stymied by opposition on Capitol Hill.

In its statement opposing the bill, the White House said that the new Guantanamo restrictions would “violate constitutional separation-of-powers principles” and “could interfere with the President’s authority to protect sensitive national security information.”

“Rather than taking steps to bring this chapter of our history to a close, as the president has repeatedly called upon Congress to do, this bill aims to extend it,” the White House said.

The White House also said that it “would strongly object” to the bill’s use of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds to support the intelligence community. It also raised objections to provisions that ban the U.S. from sharing secret information about CIA “black sites” and other intelligence activities with foreign government investigations, as well as with some reporting requirements and measures to expand a new cybersecurity information center.

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, voted for the bill in committee but has suggested that he may oppose it on the floor if the provisions on Guantanamo Bay and OCO funds are not fixed.

“I have substantial concerns with the bill,” he said on Monday, when the bill came up in the Rules Committee.

By a 7-3 party-line vote, the Rules Committee declared that a limited number of amendments will get a vote on the floor on Tuesday, including a measure to strip the restrictions on Guantanamo Bay transfers.

Multiple lawmakers have raised objections to another provision of the bill that will block the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) — a small federal watchdog — from accessing information about “covert action.” Lawmakers submitted three separate amendments to remove or modify that provision, but none of them will get a vote on the floor. 

Tags Adam Schiff Guantánamo Bay Intelligence Authorization Act

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video