WASHINGTON (AP) _ Senate leaders agreed Thursday night to revive stalled immigration legislation, capping a furious weeklong rescue attempt that drew President Bush's personal involvement.
``The leaders have agreed on a way forward,'' said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
The measure, sidetracked a week ago, is expected to return to the Senate floor for additional debate as early as next week.
The legislation has generated intense controversy, particularly for provisions envisioning eventual citizenship for many of the estimated 12 million immigrants now in the country unlawfully. The bill also calls for greater border security and a crackdown on the hiring of illegal employees.
The decision to revive the measure does not necessarily portend passage in the Senate. Critics of the measure have denounced it as conferring amnesty on millions of lawbreakers, and it remains unclear how strenuously they will attempt to prevent its approval.
The decision to bring the bill back for more debate was made at a meeting involving Reid, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and key supporters of the legislation.
McConnell left the closed-door meeting without speaking with reporters.
But several officials said the decision had been made to make one additional stab at passing the measure, which is Bush's top domestic priority.