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US Congress Fails to Pass Intelligence Reform Bill

U.S. lawmakers have failed to pass a White House-backed bill that would have made major changes to the country's intelligence agencies.

A vote on the bill was canceled at the last minute after conservative members of Mr. Bush's Republican Party objected, saying the reforms could take authority from the Pentagon and the U.S. military chain of command.

The comprehensive reform bill would have created a new national director of intelligence with authority over the estimated $40 billion intelligence budget and all 14 of the U.S. intelligence agencies.

The bill's derailment was seen as a defeat for President Bush, who contacted lawmakers by phone to urge support for its passage.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Sunday that President Bush still hopes Congress will approve the bill when it reconvenes.

The proposed legislation follows the recommendations of the independent commission which studied the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Some information for this report provided by AP.