President Bush blamed Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Saturday for the potentially fatal blow dealt to compromise immigration legislation.
The landmark bill, which would offer eventual citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants, fell victim Friday to internal disputes in both parties.
But Bush -- echoing earlier complaints from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee -- sought to place all the blame on Reid, D-Nevada, who refused to permit votes on more than three Republican-backed amendments.
"I call on the Senate minority leader to end his blocking tactics and allow the Senate to do its work and pass a fair, effective immigration reform bill," Bush said in his weekly radio address. ...
Frist and others accused Reid of "putting a stranglehold" on the Senate. The Democratic leader has prevented votes on all but a few non-controversial amendments since debate began on the bill more than a week ago.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and other opponents expressed frustration that they were unable to gain votes on proposals to toughen enforcement or to leave immigration policy unchanged until the border had been made secure.
"It's not gone forward because there's a political advantage for Democrats not to have an immigration bill," asserted Specter.
Reid swiftly rebutted the claim: "I respect Bill Frist, but his position on this matter simply defies logic. ... He needed the courage to move forward."
To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.
UPDATE -- April 13: From Reuters: Bush, Reid Trade Insults on Immigration.
President Bush accused Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Thursday of "single-handedly thwarting" action on immigration legislation, and got a brisk retort in return.
"President Bush has as much credibility on immigration as he does on Iraq and national security," shot back the Nevada Democrat.
The exchange was the latest in a series of maneuvers among party leaders trying to assign blame for Senate gridlock over comprehensive immigration legislation. A pending measure would strengthen border security, create a guest worker program and offer eventual citizenship to many of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.
Posted by Forkum at April 10, 2006 08:35 PM