Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Onwards after May 1st

After the historic marches and boycotts around the country in favor of immigrant rights on Monday May 1st, Congress is still trying to "do something" on immigration reform. Do they feel the eyes of the nation watching?

Right before the recess, the Senate could not resolve procedural issues related to the bill (i.e. Senate Minority Leader Reid wanted only three amendments and insisted Senator Frist name the Senate Judiciary panel members as conferees before voting on the compromise. See earlier posts). During the recess, both sides, including the President, blamed each other for the impasse.

Last week, perhaps in response to the on-going national rallies, President Bush called Senate leaders for a meeting at the White House to try to move the legislation forward. According to the National Journal, Reid said, "As I said after that meeting, I am not in the habit of patting the president on the back, but he really deserved credit for calling us together and for hosting a good, bipartisan meeting."

Today Senator Reid proposed voting on 20 amendments to the compromise bill (10 for each party) so that the Senate can vote on the proposal before Memorial Day. Senate majority Leader Bill Frist rejected the proposal as being "inadequate" and wants more amendments.

The National Journal also reports that Republican Policy Committee Chairman Jon Kyl of Arizona indicated today that GOP leaders were considering bringing the immigration legislation for a vote soon. They are concerned that immigration, along with rising gas prices, is likely to delay consideration of repeal of the estate tax and healthcare bills this month.