Groups opposing the bill don’t plan to let up
By Charles Babington
WASHINGTON -President Bush, trying to recover from a stinging setback on immigration, will personally try in a visit to the Capitol next week to revive the embattled plan for legalizing millions of unlawful immigrants.
Bush's scheduled lunch on Tuesday with GOP senators is part of a campaign by the White House and allies in both parties to placate or outmaneuver conservative Republicans who blocked the broad immigration measure this week. They said Friday they would try again to reach accord on the number of amendments the dissidents could offer.
Opponents of the bill promised to continue fighting all such efforts.
Democratic leaders accused Bush of being too tepid in pushing the legislation, which would tighten borders and offer employers more temporary workers from abroad in addition to providing lawful status to an estimated 12 million illegal aliens and putting many of them on a path toward citizenship
Many Republicans defended the president's role. But the bill's backers nonetheless welcomed his plan to attend the GOP senators' weekly luncheon in the Capitol for the first time in five years.
The visit was scheduled before this week's immigration votes, and Bush will discuss numerous subjects with Republican senators, said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel. "But certainly immigration is a topic" high on the list, he said.
Senate backers of the immigration bill fell 15 votes short of the 60 needed Thursday to limit debate and allow a vote on the measure itself. Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., then set the measure aside, calling it "the president's bill" and saying Bush's direct intervention was crucial to reviving it.