House, Senate leave immigration, budget bills in limbo

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Congress adjourned for the Easter holiday without resolving two of the nation's biggest political issues: immigration and the budget.

A landmark bill that would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants fell apart in the Senate on Friday. Only 38 senators – all Democrats – voted for the legislation, 22 short of the 60 needed. Supporters offered hope that senators will reach an agreement on the legislation after the two-week recess, but Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) did not commit to bringing another vote on the floor by the end of the year. Many long-term care providers support a guest worker program as part of an immigration bill.

Another doomed bill could be the House's current fiscal year 2007 budget resolution. The House adjourned last week without voting on the $2.8 trillion resolution, which excludes reductions for Medicare and Medicaid. House Republican leaders reportedly failed to come to agreement over budget rules and spending limits. Nursing home providers praised the resolution because of the omission of Medicare and Medicaid spending cuts. The Bush administration has called for these cuts.