Senators grasp at a chance for reform: Time running out for immigration bill
By Karoun Demirjian -- Washington Bureau -- April 30, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers who back immigration reform, recognizing that their chances are dwindling rapidly, are girding for a last-ditch attempt to pass a sweeping bill before their efforts are swallowed up by an early campaign season and an acrimonious political mood.
An unusual bipartisan group of senators hopes to present this week the outlines of an immigration plan designed to win crucial support from conservatives. If they succeed, President Bush is expected to throw his support behind the plan, which could be his final chance for a major domestic accomplishment in his second term.
This effort comes against the backdrop of expected mass marches and demonstrations supporting immigration rights on Tuesday in major cities, including Chicago.
The group of senators discussing the reform plan includes everyone from conservative Southwesterners such as Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to liberal New Englanders like Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). The group includes presidential candidate John McCain (R-Ariz.), who wrote an immigration bill last year with Kennedy.
"We've made tremendous progress, and there's a real hope to get to a bill of significance," said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a participant in the talks.
If that hope is realized, the Senate would likely vote on the bill by the end of May.
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