(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama may formally object to a provision that would prohibit the use of any funds to transfer detainees from the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the United States for any purpose.
The provision -- attached to the defense authorization bill -- would be a critical blow to the president's stated goal of trying some Guantanamo detainees in civilian courts. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress late last year calling the provision "an extreme and risky encroachment on the authority of the executive branch to determine when and where to prosecute terrorist suspects."
A final decision on whether to issue a so-called signing statement, which was first reported by ProPublica, and its scope, has yet to be made by the president and his senior staff.
Signing statements are legal documents that a president issues to outline how he thinks a law should be implemented. The statements can be largely ceremonial, explaining the president's view of the effects of the bill, or they can go as far as challenging the constitutionality of the provision and stating that the president will refuse to enforce it.
A White House official said Monday that even if the president decides to issue the signing statement, he will not seek to bypass the Guantanamo restrictions. The statement instead would reflect Obama's intention to seek a reversal of the provision through Congress.
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