Passport Rule Could be Delayed to Avoid Backlog

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WASHINGTON -- Congress is seeking to delay a new security rule requiring passports at all U.S. border crossings next year.

Officials hope to avoid a repeat of last summer's vacation-killing backlog of passport applications.

The Bush administration Monday said it opposed the measure and still plans to go forward with implementing the planned passport rule next summer.

Lawmakers say that under an end-of-the-year spending bill, to be voted on this week, the border passport rule would be moved back even more -- to no earlier than June 1st, 2009.

The first phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative took effect earlier this year. It requires U.S. travelers returning by plane from Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean to carry a passport.

As a result of the new requirements, demand for passports soared -- and wait times ballooned.