Friday, June 08, 2007

Immigration Bill Stalls In Senate

The much-debated bill which would create a temporary worker program and give legal status to illegal immigrants has hit a major roadblock, and may be dead. The Senate voted 45-50 against limiting debate which would allow the bill to go forward and be voted on. Earlier Thursday, the Senate approved a "poison pill" amendment which would sunset the temporary worker program after 5 years.

Having failed the procedural hurdle, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has now pulled the bill from the floor and the Senate will move on to other issues. It is unclear whether or not the bill will come back or not. On the House side, Speaker Pelosi reiterated that the House will continue to defer to the Senate for work on the bill, so it must come back before the Senate for any progress to be made on it at all.

According to DailyKos, here's what Sen. Reid said in an email statement:

"I am deeply disappointed that so many of our Republican colleagues have blocked tough, fair and practical immigration reform. The White House has had six months to work with Senate Republicans toward a solution, yet it failed to show the necessary leadership to get this bill passed."

"Senate Democrats have given Senate Republicans ample time to amend this bill, twice extending the timeline for debate. We have gone out of our way to make this process fair and equitable, moving through more than 40 amendments – including 20 yesterday alone. Yet as much as they talk about the importance and urgency of immigration reform, a group of Senate Republicans has irresponsibly turned its back on border security and the 12 million people who are living in the shadows of our society. The immigration system remains broken. Senate Republicans and the White House must come to the table in good faith if we are to fix it."
While the bill may not have been perfect, I don't think a perfect bill that could ever pass really exists out there on this issue. And while the issue isn't as pressing as others, such as the war in Iraq, it's not responsible for the Congress to wait another two years to get back to it either. No matter what happens in next year's elections, a significant number of Senate Republicans will still need to be on board for passage. There is also the possibility that one of the Republican candidates may be elected president, and with the exception of John McCain, none of them agree with Bush in support of such reform. The window for this may well be closing...

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