For the second time in less than a month, Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a controversial immigration reform bill from proceeding to a final vote.

The White House-backed bill, which would have created a path to legal status for the nation's estimated 12 million undocumented workers, fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate.

President Bush, who had lobbied support for the bill on Capital Hill earlier this month, called the results a "disappointment."

Small-business advocacy and trade groups had also pressed lawmakers to hammer out several measures contained in the bill, including a national employee verification system and a temporary worker program.

The issue is not expected to be revived again until after the 2008 federal election.

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