The Associated General Contractors of America blasted the U.S. Senate Thursday for deciding not to vote on President Bush’s immigration reform plan.
The move likely kills the bill until after the 2008 elections.
“I don’t know what is more broken - our political process or our borders,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the group. “Too many senators have ‘outsourced’ their judgment.”
Senate supporters were 14 votes shy of the 60 needed to end debate on the highly controversial bill and send it for final approval. The Senate is now expected to prepare for its weeklong Fourth of July break.
The president, along with numerous Democratic sponsors, had supported the bill as offering the best way to improve U.S. border security while offering a path for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants to eventually gain citizenship.
But the bill came under heavy attack from the most conservative members of the Republican Party, who broke with the president to oppose the bill. Many called it an amnesty program that rewarded those who entered the country without permission.
Some members of the Democratic Party were also critical of the bill because they said it did not do enough to help family of those already here.
The president called the Senate’s failure to move the bill “a disappointment.”
“The American people understand the status quo is unacceptable when it comes to our immigration laws,” Bush said. “A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn't find a common ground - it didn't work.”
Despite predictions that the bill is dead, the AGC’s Sandherr said he still hoped the issue would be tackled.
“Passing controversial legislation that stirs passions is tough and we hope our elected leaders will rise to the challenge one more time, bridge the gap of a divided nation and do what is right for our citizens and our businesses,” he said.