Dem doubts immigration will be finished this year

A Democratic senator said Thursday that a comprehensive immigration reform bill is highly unlikely to be taken up and passed this year. 

Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.) said on MSNBC that a number of other legislative items are likely to take up the Senate's remaining work days on the legislative calendar.

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Asked if it is realistic that an immigration bill will be taken up and passed this year, "I'll tell you straight up, Chuck, I doubt it. We've got a lot of stuff on the tabe to do.

"This Wall Street reform bill is going to take some time. If we end up taking up energy policy or a potential climate change policy, you know better than anyone that's going to take a huge amount of time," he continued. "We still have some approrpriations bills to take up, some budget bills to take up, the list goes on and on and on."

Tester's comments come as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) came under pressure this week to take up the bill this year. A controversial immigration measure signed into law in Arizona last week pushed the issue to the forefront.

Reid made it clear Wednesday he would move on a climate change bill first after speculation that he could bump immigration up ahead of the bill, saying that both issues were critical for the country. 

Still, lawmakers are still working to draft language for an immigration proposal that could be unveiled this year.