WASHINGTON - U.S. President George Bush is attempting to soften divisiveness in the Republican Party over immigration reform by attending the party's weekly policy lunch.
The rare move on Tuesday came after Senate debate on the bill collapsed Thursday while Bush was in Europe, The Washington Post reported.
Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sent a letter to the White House saying "it will take stronger leadership by you to ensure that opponents of the bill do not block the path to final passage."
As Bush was flying to Washington from Europe, he called the bill's three sponsors, Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.; Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; and Ken Salazar, D-Colo., to discuss amendments to the legislation, White House communications chief Kevin Sullivan said.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., an opponent of the immigration bill, told the Post Democrat opponents had other motives.
"It's a political thing," Sessions said. "They want the blame for pushing this unpopular bill to fall on President Bush."
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