MILITARY

Bill would block effort to close Guantanamo, Obama administration officials say

  • Activists from the antiwar group CodePink, including co-founder Medea Benjamin, second from right, hold silent protest at the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on the detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A week ago, the same group drew the ire of Armed Services Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., when they interrupted a hearing with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and charged the witness table. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Activists from the antiwar group CodePink, including co-founder Medea Benjamin, second from right, hold silent protest at the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on the detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A week ago, the same group drew the ire of Armed Services Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., when they interrupted a hearing with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and charged the witness table. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ellen Sturtz, an activist from the antiwar group CodePink, participates in a silent protest during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, on the detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba. A week ago, the same group drew the ire of Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., when they interrupted a hearing with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and charged the witness table. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Ellen Sturtz, an activist from the antiwar group CodePink, participates in a silent protest during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, on the detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba. A week ago, the same group drew the ire of Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., when they interrupted a hearing with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and charged the witness table. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (The Associated Press)

A Defense Department official is pushing back against a bill to place new restrictions the president's ability to transfer terror suspects out of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Brian McKeon is principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. McKean told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that the bill proposed by four powerful GOP senators would effectively ban most transfers from Guantanamo for two years. He says it would block progress toward the goal of closing the detention center.

The senators are Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, John McCain of Arizona, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Nearly a dozen protesters dressed in orange jumpsuits and T-shirts reading "Shut down GITMO" attended the hearing. One started yelling and was escorted out.