WASHINGTON (AP) -- Efforts are intensifying in the Senate to settle a fierce partisan dispute over labor rights that has stalled the bill creating a Homeland Security Department. President Bush sought to give the measure a lift Thursday by publicly announcing his support for a compromise version.
Republicans are rallying around a plan by Sens. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and Zell Miller, D-Ga., that would give Bush greater powers he seeks to rapidly hire, fire and deploy the Cabinet agency's estimated 170,000 employees while preserving certain key civil service rights.
The proposal would preserve the president's existing power to exempt workers from union coverage for reasons of national security, but would add requirements for employee and congressional notification.
It would make more than 15 other changes to the Democratic bill in areas ranging from intelligence reorganization to immigration reform.
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