Republican congressional leaders have been blocked by Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner from adding immigration, handgun, and Internet gambling measures to a defense bill, the Associated Press reports. Warner said he is “firmly opposed” to including unrelated bills in the defense bill. Hous Speaker Dennis Hastert had insisted on adding to the defense bill a measure that would make it easier to detain and deport illegal immigrants who are members of violent criminal street gangs. “Cracking down on gangs might be divisive in San Francisco, but it’s not in the rest of America,” Hastert said in a reference to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
The speaker wants to use the defense bill as a vehicle for a House measure allowing judges to carry handguns and bolstering courthouse security in response to the murder of a Chicago federal judge’s husband and mother. Warner says the defense bill should be bipartisan at a time when U.S. troops are at war. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, eyeing a 2008 presidential bid, has been pushing for the Internet gambling crackdown. It would ban the use of credit cards, checks and other forms of payment to settle online wagers.