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Mr. McCain pointed to a case in World War II when German saboteurs were captured in the U.S., tried in a military commission and executed, including one U.S. citizen.

“That was upheld by the United States Supreme Court. That still holds,” he said, though he said the issue is complicated in the current fight because the war on terrorism has no clear definite ending.

The White House did not respond to a request Tuesday for comment on the legislation or its veto threat of the Guantanamo Bay transfer issues.

About 166 detainees were still housed at the detention facility in Cuba as of last month.

Mr. Obama took office in 2009 promising to close the prison within a year, but has failed to make good on that pledge. His administration has identified a prison it would like to use in Illinois to house detainees, but Congress has repeatedly blocked him from designating the prison as a detention facility and banned him from bringing any of the detainees to U.S. soil.

Congress also has required the administration to make certain certifications before it can transfer detainees to other countries — a bar that the administration says is so high that it has halted those transfers.

That led to his veto threat earlier this year.

“Since these restrictions have been on the books, they have limited the executive’s ability to manage military operations in an ongoing armed conflict, harmed the country’s diplomatic relations with allies and counterterrorism partners, and provided no benefit whatsoever to our national security,” the White House budget office said in its official statement of policy.