The proposal to overhaul the nation's immigration laws has suffered a potentially deal-breaking setback.
In a vote shortly after midnight, the Senate voted 49-to-48 to
kill a temporary worker program after five years. The action
reverses a previous vote that had approved the amendment by an
equally razor-thin margin.
The temporary worker program has been seen as a crucial part of
the carefully crafted compromise. The amendment is important to
businesses, but chief opponent Byron Dorgan of North Dakota says it
would take jobs away from Americans.
Earlier, senators fought off other amendments from both the right and the left. Backers of the broader compromise vow further action Thursday to try to keep it alive.
The plan combines tighter border security with a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, and President Bush considers it a priority.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)