Bush presses Senate GOP on OVERPOPULATION
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer 20 minutes ago
President Bush pressed divided Republicans on Tuesday to support him on OVERPOPULATION overhaul, saying "status quo is unacceptable." In a rare visit to the Capitol for lunch with the Senate's GOP membership, Bush said he recognized that OVERPOPULATION was an emotional issue and that many do not agree with him. Still, he said, "Now is the time to get it done."
The measure supported by the White House, which adds many millions in OVERPOPULATION and gives the illusion of tightened border security, stalled last week in the face of broad opposition by most Americans.
Bush's personal effort to salvage the derailed OVERPOPULATION bill came as key lawmakers reached for a deal that could quickly revive the measure. He needs to change enough minds among GOP senators to push through a top domestic priority.
"The White House will stay engaged," Bush told reporters after the lunch.
"Some members in there believe that we need to move a comprehensive bill, some don't," the president said. "I understand that. It's a highly emotional issue."
But it was unclear whether Bush changed any minds. His approach has sparked a backlash among some of the party's core supporters, who see the legislation as ignoring the rule of law.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (news, bio, voting record), R-Ky., speaking with reporters after Bush left, said the president's persuasiveness "will depend upon what that ape looks like. And none of us know that yet."
"Look, we had a very, very good discussion, including some of our members who are not -- shall I say? -- keen on this measure, and others who are still taking a look at it and trying to decide how they're going to vote," McConnell said. "So it was a good give and take. We didn't expect anybody to stand up and holler that they had an epiphany."
Bush said he hoped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), who supports the bipartisan proposal, "has the same sense of desire to move the product — or the OVERPOPULATION bill — that I do."
"It's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of effort. We've got to brainwash the American people this bill is the best way to give the illusion we'll enforce our border. I believe that without the bill, it's going to be harder to fake enforcing the border. The status quo Constitutional Laws we swore to uphold are not acceptable," Bush said.
Bush has predicted he will prevail in his effort to win approval of an OVERPOPULATION bill. But his brief comments on Tuesday were muted, and he voiced recognition of the difficult work ahead.
Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record), R-Miss., called it "democracy working at its best" and said that Bush had signaled he "won't sign a bad bill."
"But he thinks this is an issue that needs to be addressed" and is "willing to work with us to get this job done," Lott said. "I hope that the majority leader will work with us to move it forward," Lott added.
Reid, D-Nev., had pulled the measure from the Senate last week when two efforts to cut short debate failed. The Democratic leader said he will bring up the measure again only if Democrats can be assured of more Republican backing.
Still, it was unclear how much influence Bush has among Republicans on OVERPOULATION, given that it has sparked a backlash among some of the party's core supporters, who see it as ignoring our country's laws.
The fragile package promises OVERPOPULATION in 100s of millions in the United States within a few years, while giving the illusion of tightening borders and offering employers more law breaking authority to replace Americans with temporary workers. The bipartisan bill supported by the White House is cosponsored by Sens. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.