Immigrant bill passes test

WASHINGTON – A fragile Senate coalition backing an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws survived its first legislative test Tuesday, beating back an effort to strip a guest-worker program from the immigration bill.

Senators voted 64-31 against an amendment by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and supported by some labor unions to strip the program

Democrats vowed they would come back to the program again and again, with amendments to cut the guest-worker program’s size in half, to add an expiration date for the program, to torpedo the program if workers do not comply with the rules, and to bolster worker protections for participants.

A proposal by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., to slash the number of annual visas available for temporary workers to 200,000 could come up as early as today. A similar amendment passed the Senate last year by an overwhelming margin.

The immigration bill would set up a guest-worker visa program for 400,000 temporary workers a year. If demand is high enough, temporary-worker visas could expand to 600,000 a year. The two-year visas would be renewable up to three times, provided that the workers leave the country for a year between two-year stints.

Opponents of the program said it would reduce wages of U.S. workers, while creating an underclass of low-paid migrants with no access to the protections of citizenship.

Troop withdrawal dropped

As expected, House Democratic leaders on Tuesday dropped their insistence that the Iraq war-spending bill include a timeline for U.S. troop withdrawal, clearing the way to end a lengthy standoff with President Bush.

The measure will include benchmarks that the Baghdad government must meet to continue to receive U.S. reconstruction aid, although the president will be allowed to waive those requirements.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the approximately $120 billion bill, which funds military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, this week.

House OKs suing OPEC

The House voted 345-72 Tuesday to allow the government to sue OPEC over oil production quotas.

The White House objected, saying that might disrupt supplies and lead to even higher costs at the pump. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is the cartel that accounts for 40 percent of the world’s oil.

Separately at a House hearing, Guy Caruso, chief of the Energy Department’s statistical agency, said gasoline prices “may ease somewhat.” But he said pressure on gas prices will remain strong “with the hurricane season approaching, continued tight refinery conditions, low gas inventories and increased demand for summer travel.”

Lasers and airplanes

People who shine laser pointers at airplanes could face up to five years in prison under legislation approved Tuesday by the House. The National Transportation Safety Board has documented two instances in which pilots sustained eye injuries and were incapacitated during critical phases of a flight.

Fight against spyware

The House passed legislation Tuesday to combat the criminal use of Internet spyware, software that secretly collects information about a person or organization and sends it to another entity without the user’s consent.

The bill makes it a criminal offense, subject to a prison term of up to five years, to access a computer without authorization to further another federal criminal offense. Obtaining or transmitting personal information with the intent of injuring or defrauding a person or damaging a computer is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Some lawmakers cited estimates that up to 90 percent of computers in this country are infected with some form of spyware.

Bills that clear the House now go to the Senate, which in some cases is crafting its own legislation.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Most Read