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DREAM Act news: With bill stalled in Senate, what happens next?

Senate majority leader Harry Reid deferred action on the DREAM Act. News reports suggest he is waiting for the Obama tax deal to be resolved. When that might happen, however, is uncertain.

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Sen. Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday about DREAM act news.

Harry Hamburg/AP

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What happens now that the Senate has decided to defer action on the DREAM Act?

Advocates of the bill to create a path to citizenship for students and members of the military brought to the US illegally as children will have to wait – at least until next week and perhaps longer.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced his intention to call a vote on the DREAM Act later this month. But Senate Republicans have vowed to block any business in the Senate until the tax deal they struck with President Obama passes.

When that might happen – if at all – was thrown further into doubt Thursday when House Democrats voted to block the Obama tax deal from even coming to the floor for a vote, angry that it still includes tax relief for the rich.

The fluid nature of negotiations over the tax deal could change Senator Reid’s calculus on when and whether to call for a vote on the DREAM Act.

The Senate was originally scheduled to vote on its own version of the bill Thursday. But it will now take up the version passed by the House Wednesday, 216 to 198, instead. The two bills have only slight differences.

The delay until next week could give Democratic leaders time to persuade wary Republicans. In the past, seven Senate Republicans have signaled support for the DREAM Act. But Republicans have since taken a stronger line against the bill, with some of them saying it represents a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Democrats will need at least some Republican support to reach 60 votes and break a filibuster. Democrats remain hopeful that, if Congress can get over the tax-deal hurdle, the DREAM Act has a shot at passing the Senate.

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