According to a story today in the New York Times, the sponsors of the Senate immigration reform bill are promising to continue working on a compromise bill, even though the original bill has been pulled from the Senate calendar. Here are excerpts from the Times article:
WASHINGTON, June 8 — The authors of a comprehensive immigration bill said today that they would try to resuscitate the measure, which stalled Thursday when the Senate refused to cut off debate, as President Bush urged senators from both parties to bring the bill back to the floor.
“We are not giving up, we are not giving in,” said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, who helped write the bill in months of negotiations with the White House and a small bipartisan group of senators.
Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chief Republican architect of the bill, voted against limiting debate. He said he wanted to give conservative Republicans “a little bit more time to get amendments together, to get them considered, so that we can finish the bill with an opportunity for everyone to have their say.”
The president said he understood the reservations some lawmakers had. “And like many senators, I believe the bill will need to be further improved along the way before it becomes law,” he said.
Mr. Bush said, as he has many times, that his administration is committed to securing the country’s borders. And he reaffirmed his position that the bill, which would require illegal aliens to pay penalties and go to the back of the bureaucratic line before they could gain legal status, does not smack of amnesty.
“They will have to prove themselves worthy of this great land,” he said.
Mr. Bush’s remarks were in his weekly radio address, the text of which is typically released on Friday but not to be reported until his radio address the next day. Today, the text was offered for immediate release, a signal of the importance Mr. Bush attaches to efforts to revive the immigration bill.
The Senate had been debating the bill for two weeks. Mr. Kyl said he hoped the majority leader, Senator “Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, would allow a few more days of debate, if supporters of the legislation could agree with opponents on a list of 12 or 13 amendments that could be considered at some time in the future.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a co-author of the bill, said talk show hosts were partly responsible for derailing it.
“I’ve listened to talk show hosts drumming up the opposition by using this word amnesty over and over and over again,” Mrs. Feinstein said. In 15 years in the Senate, she added, “I’ve never received more hate or more racist phone calls and threats.”
Speaking at the site of the Group of Eight summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, Dan Barlett, the White House counselor, called for action to move the bill forward. “The best way to proceed is for Republicans and Democrats to come together and vote on this legislation and then we can move it into the House of Representatives,” Mr. Bartlett said.
Mr. Bush had been a strong proponent of the sweeping immigration overhaul that crumbled in the Senate on Thursday night, leaving the future of one of the administration’s chief domestic priorities in serious doubt.
After a day of tension and fruitless maneuvering, senators rejected a Democratic call to move toward a final vote on the compromise legislation after Republicans complained that they had not been given enough opportunity to reshape the sprawling bill. Supporters of cutting off debate got only 45 of the 60 votes they needed; 50 senators opposed the cutoff.
“We are finished with this for the time being,” said Senator Reid, as he turned the Senate to work on energy legislation.
Mr. Reid did, however, leave the door open to revisiting the immigration issue later this year and said he would continue to explore ways to advance a plan. “We all have to work, the president included, to find a way to get this bill passed,” he said.