Congressional leaders predict immigration law

Jan 7, 2007 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic and Republican leaders predicted on Sunday the U.S. Congress would pass an immigration law this session after scuttling President George W. Bush’s plan last year.

Democratic leaders also said they were looking at ways to provide middle class tax relief, with one hinting of possibly ending some tax breaks for the wealthy.

House of Representatives Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said on “Fox News Sunday” that immigration was one of the topics discussed when congressional leaders were invited to the White House last week to meet with Bush.

“He (Bush) smiled and he said, ‘You know, I think I’m going to have a lot easier time dealing with you on immigration than I had dealing with the House Republican leadership on immigration,”‘ said Hoyer.

“I think that’s the case,” said Hoyer, who did not detail the plan.

Bush proposed a major overhaul of the immigration system that included a limited guest worker program and an easier path to citizenship for many already in the country. He coupled that with money for increased border security.

In the end, House Republicans killed the immigration overhaul and Congress limited its action to approving money for 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky agreed that an immigration bill was possible.

Democrats last week took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years and have been outlining their legislative agenda since then.

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