GOP first-termer challenges Obama detainee policy

November 29, 2011 - 3:00 PM
Congress Terror Suspects

FILE - In this May 11, 2011 file photo, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., right, accompanied by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. gestures during a a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The face of Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s policy for handling terror suspects is a 43-year-old former prosecutor who has been in the Senate a mere 11 months. Ayotte is at the forefront of the escalating congressional challenge to a White House determined to build on its success against al-Qaida and frustrated by lawmakers’ meddling in its war on terror. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The face of Republican opposition to President Barack Obama's policy for handling suspected terrorists is a 43-year-old former prosecutor who has been in the Senate a mere 11 months.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is at the forefront of the escalating fight over whether to treat captured suspects as prisoners of war or criminals. Ayotte says the administration doesn't have a consistent policy on detainees. She and other Republicans are pushing for restrictions in a large defense bill.

The administration points to its success in killing al-Qaida's Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. They counter that Congress is micromanaging war efforts and have threatened to veto the military bill because of the detainee provisions.

The fight touches on constitutional boundaries of executive and legislative authority.