February 12, 2015 / 9:27 PM / 4 years ago

Senate panel advances Guantanamo bill, White House promises veto

The exterior of Camp Delta is seen at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 6, 2013. REUTERS/Bob Strong

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate panel voted narrowly on Thursday to advance a bill that would bar most transfers of prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center until after President Barack Obama’s presidency, which the White House has promised to veto.

The Senate Armed Services committee voted 14-12 for the measure during a meeting that was closed to the public.

The bill, among other things, prohibits transfers to Yemen for the next two years, continues bans on transfers to the Untied States, suspends international transfers of detainees assessed as high- or medium-risk to the United States or its allies, and repeals current rules that allow low-risk prisoners to be moved to third countries.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters on Thursday Obama would veto the bill.

Obama pledged to close the internationally condemned detention center when he became president in January 2009.

But his efforts to do so have been blocked by Republican lawmakers who worry the detainees would be a threat to the Untied States or its allies if released.

There are currently 122 detainees still at the facility. Fifty-four of those, including 47 Yemenis, have been approved for resettlement.

U.S. officials insist that security is a top concern when planning releases.

Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by Sandra Maler

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