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Immigration Bill Receives Setback

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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Comments (3)

Paul Hamilton:

The whole idea has raised incredible anger among average Americans and I'm glad to see it defeated. Americans are losing their jobs and seeing their incomes drop even if they can manage to keep them. The idea of just letting millions more people into the country to further depress the job market is insanity. We need to get the illegals out of the country and make American jobs more secure and increase wages to put the economy on a sound foundation.

And before anybody accuses me of becoming a radical right winger, this measure primarily benefits the wealthiest Americans and harms the middle and lower classes. All this does is provide a huge pool of cheap labor, driving down wages across the board. The driving force of politics should be the benefit of the average American, and clearly this works AGAINST our interests, not for it.

John in CA:

This bill was primarily intended to create a permanent under class that democratics could pander to and be assured of their votes for generations to come.

Paul Hamilton:

John, that doesn't make sense. They would be "guest workers," not citizens, so they wouldn't have a vote. I still say that the only persons to benefit from this would be the owners of businesses because the guest workers would all work at low salaries and it would have the effect of dragging down everyone else's wages as well.


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