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Senate Postpones Consideration of DREAM Act

The U.S. Senate postponed its expected vote on the DREAM Act today in an effort by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to keep the issue alive.

"We've been told by our Republican colleagues that they aren't willing to do business," Reid said before making a motion to table a cloture vote on the Senate version of the bill, which had been scheduled for this morning. In other words, Reid didn't believe that he had enough votes from senators to move the Senate version of the DREAM Act forward.

Senators voted 59-40 on Reid's motion to table, giving the chamber the opportunity to hold a later vote on the DREAM Act, which is designed to provide a path to legalization for some undocumented youths who graduate from U.S. high schools.

Observers predict that Reid, D-Nev., will attempt to have the Senate vote on the House version of the DREAM Act, which was approved with a 216-198 vote last night. The House version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, would provide a path to legalization for undocumented high school graduates who meet certain criteria and complete two years of college or military service. To be eligible, the graduates would have to have arrived in the United States before age 16 and be no older than 30. They also would have to have lived in this country for five continuous years and have no criminal record.

Shortly before the procedural vote was scheduled to occur, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., spoke on the Senate floor and urged lawmakers to "listen to the American people" and block the DREAM Act from moving forward.

"The American people have been speaking loud and clear on issues that pertain to the DREAM Act," Vitter said. He argued that if the DREAM Act becomes law, undocumented students who benefit from it would be vying for slots at colleges and universities and for financial aid with U.S. citizens. "These young illegals who would be granted amnesty would be put in competition with American citizens for those scarce resources," he said. He also argued the act would be costly and further run up the federal debt, an argument that supporters of the bill refute.

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