President Bush met with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol Thursday, ahead of expected Senate passage of a bill dealing with the treatment and trials of terrorism suspects. Mr. Bush says the measure would give him an important tool in the war on terror.
A day after the House of Representatives approved its version of the legislation, President Bush urged the Senate to do likewise.
"Our most important responsibility is to protect the American people from further attack," said Mr. Bush. "We cannot be able to tell the American people we are doing our full job, unless we have the tools necessary to do so."
The legislation establishes limits on the techniques used to interrogate terror suspects, but denies detainees access to courts to challenge their imprisonment.
Many Democrats argue that the measure, negotiated by Senate Republicans and the White House, would allow unfair trials and abusive interrogation techniques.
Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, warned that the legislation sets a dangerous example.
"The changes in the bill, which is now before us, taken together, would put our own troops at risk, if other countries decide to apply similar standards to our troops, if they are captured or detained," said Senator Levin.
The Senate Wednesday rejected an amendment that would have expanded detainees' legal rights.
Senators are to consider several other amendments before voting on the overall legislation.
Republicans hope to campaign on the legislation in the run-up to November congressional elections to show their tough stand on terrorism.
Despite Democrats' misgivings about the bill, many will likely vote for the measure out of concern they would appear weak on the fight against terror.