WASHINGTON (AP) - Senators working on a bipartisan immigration bill have defeated an effort to speed up a new workplace identity verification system.
The amendment by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa would have required all employers to be using the electronic E-Verify system within 18 months.
The immigration bill being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the system to phase in over four years.
E-Verify allows employers to electronically check their workers' identification. It is currently mostly voluntary.
Grassley's amendment was defeated 13 to 5 Thursday. Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah joined Democrats in voting no.
It was the third day of action by the Senate Judiciary Committee as it weighs hundreds of amendments to the immigration legislation.