The White House will continue to meet with some Senate Republicans or their staffers this week to carve out an immigration reform proposal, according to a Senate staffer with knowledge of the negotiations. A PowerPoint presentation obtained by News Desk last week on some of the preliminary proposals the group is floating earned widespread condemnation from immigrant-advocacy groups that once counted on the White House for support.
With Democrats in control of Congress, White House advisers have concluded that it's best to resurrect the legislation with Senate Republicans, who have always been more amenable to Bush's approach, and build support from there. "The expectation is that the Senate will move more quickly than the House," a Bush adviser said. The administration's lead negotiators with Capitol Hill are Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Bush told aides he wants a bill on his desk that he can sign by August. Congressional insiders say that's unlikely.
By Kenneth T. Walsh and Angie C. Marek