I don't have time for much more than a drive-by linking, but there is this news this morning, via the Washington Post:
Supporters of a comprehensive immigration bill suffered a setback early this morning when the Senate voted to put a five-year limit on a new guest worker program that would be created under the legislation.
By a vote of 49 to 48 shortly after midnight, the Senate approved an amendment by Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, to end the program after five years.
The temporary worker program is an important element of the "grand bargain" on immigration forged in three months of negotiations by a small bipartisan group of senators.
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, is pressing the Senate to wrap up work on the bill after two weeks of debate. A vote on whether to bring the debate to a close is scheduled for today.
Republicans said they needed more time to offer, debate and vote on amendments to the bill, which calls for the biggest changes in immigration law in more than two decades.
The vote on Mr. Dorgan's amendment was a surprise because the Senate had previously rejected a similar proposal.
There's more at the link above. Here's the AP's report on the same topic:
The 49-48 vote came two weeks after the Senate, also by a one-vote margin, rejected the same amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan. The North Dakota Democrat says immigrants take many jobs Americans could fill.
The reversal dismayed backers of the immigration bill, which is supported by President Bush but loathed by many conservatives. Business interests and their congressional allies were already angry that the temporary worker program had been cut in half from its original 400,000-person-a-year target.
A five-year sunset, they said, could knock the legs from the precarious bipartisan coalition aligned with the White House. The Dorgan amendment "is a tremendous problem, but it's correctable," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. The coalition will try as early as Thursday to persuade at least one senator to help reverse the outcome yet again, he said.
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