As Lynn Sweet reported, Kirk threatened to filibuster the bill in the Senate. The transfer ban is important to the Illinois delegation because the administration has considered housing Gitmo detainees at a prison in Illinois, should it close down the detention center in Guantanamo Bay. Trials for detainees like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, however, would likely be held in New York City.
Beyond that, as Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told Politico, leaving the transfer ban in was a way to pass DADT repeal on the House side.
"I didn't like that," Frank said. He added that the language would have likely reappeared in another spending bill. "We would have gotten stuck with that anyway."
The administration, which would like to hold civilian criminal trials for KSM and other terrorism suspects, opposes the transfer ban. Attorney General Eric Holder has asked Senate leadership not to pass the language.
If passed, the ban would last until the end of September 2011, when the fiscal year ends.
[H/T Adam Serwer]