Bickering stalls immigration bill breakthrough

VIA CNN


WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate breakthrough
on an immigration bill praised by leaders in both parties appears
endangered by partisan bickering over amendments from opponents.

Both
sides acknowledged that if the Senate is going to pass a bill, it might
not occur until Congress returns from a two-week Easter recess.

Republicans
appeared united in blocking a final vote on a compromise proposal
worked out among immigration leaders in the two parties until Democrats
allow votes on amendments by opponents.

A test vote was scheduled Friday on the compromise, as well as a bill by Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Democrats
said the amendments would undermine the immigration compromise that
offered hope for American citizenship for millions of illegal
immigrants.

“I know the reality, tomorrow we cannot finish it,”
the assistant Democratic leader, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said
late Thursday.

Supporters of the compromise claimed 70 votes and
said they could defeat all of the amendments offered by opponents.
Republicans, however, closed ranks in insisting that at least some of
those amendments get votes. Both sides indicated the Senate would
complete the bill when Congress returns from the recess that begins
Monday.

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