WASHINGTON -- Republican foes of campaign finance legislation threw up one last hurdle to its passage Tuesday but conceded they probably would fail to block the measure.
As the long struggle over the bill appeared to enter its final days, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., expressed confidence that its supporters could muster the votes needed to defeat amendments and procedural moves that could derail enactment.
He outlined a schedule that anticipates passage no later than March 22, when Congress begins a two-week recess, and vowed to hold all-night Senate sessions if necessary. He said he will file a petition to start the process today.
"I'm very confident" of final passage, Daschle said.
House gives boost to immigrants
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON -- The House approved legislation Tuesday that would allow thousands of foreigners to seek legal residency in the United States, even though they are in the country illegally.
The 275-137 vote handed President Bush, an advocate of the measure, a victory he can tout as a sign of U.S. goodwill toward immigrants when he travels to Latin America next week. It also was a defeat for lawmakers, mostly Republicans, who favor restricting immigration.
The measure, considered under rules that required a two-thirds majority for passage, cleared the House by the barest of margins. A one-vote switch would have defeated it. The measure now heads to the Senate, which has already given broad bipartisan approval to similar legislation.
Visas approved for hijackers
Exactly six months after terrorists Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi flew two jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Florida flight school that trained the men received paperwork showing that their student visas had been approved.
The two suicide hijackers had applied for the visas through their flight school, Huffman Aviation International, in August 2000. But because of backlogs and an antiquated processing system at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, notification of the approval did not arrive at the Venice, Fla. flight school until Monday.
The belated receipt of the documents underscores the chronic problems that continue to plague the beleaguered INS -- the target of strenuous reform efforts since the Sept. 11 attacks -- and prompted howls of outrage Tuesday from Capitol Hill.
Bid to toughen SUV fuel standards falters
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON -- Senate efforts to establish tougher fuel-economy standards for SUVs and other vehicles sputtered Tuesday as lawmakers appeared headed toward approving an industry-backed plan that critics say would produce little, if any, gas savings.
The proposal, likely to be voted on Wednesday, would let the Department of Transportation set the miles-per-gallon rules. Supporters say that would allow science, rather than politics, to determine the standards. But critics charge it would leave the decision to an agency susceptible to pressure from Detroit.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a leading advocate of tougher standards, said the alternative "basically does nothing."
Opponents of the tougher standards, led by Democratic and Republican lawmakers from vehicle-producing states, expressed confidence that they had the votes to pass their measure.
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