US Immigration Reform Bill Stalls in Senate

An immigration-reform bill that had President Bush's strong backing has failed to advance in a key Senate vote, delaying action on the immigration issue indefinitely.

Senators voted down a call to end discussion of the legislation Thursday and bring the bill to a final vote. The procedure fell 15 votes short of the necessary 60 to end the debate, with most Republican Party senators voting against limiting debate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid quickly pulled the bill from the legislative agenda, and said Republicans were mainly to blame for the impasse. But Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said the Democrats tried the rush the bill toward final passage.

A spokesman for Mr. Bush says the president is disappointed about Thursday's results, but urges Reid to allow debate on the bill to continue.

The compromise measure would have provided legal status for millions of undocumented workers already in the United States, while increasing border security. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators agreed on details of the bill with the Bush administration last month.

But the bill came under attack from the left and the right, with some immigration groups saying it is too tough on immigrants, and some conservatives calling it an amnesty.