Judiciary panel postpones action on H-1B visas

Schumer asked to delay a vote on Hatch’s amendments until next week, to the visible exasperation of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyLawmakers talk climate for Earth Day, Science March Poll: Sanders most popular senator in the US Senate Dems offer bill to restore internet privacy rules MORE (D-Vt.).

“At some point, we have to vote on these things,” said Leahy.

The AFL-CIO, a key stakeholder in the immigration reform debate, opposes the Hatch amendments, which would soften restrictions on skilled workers.

The Hatch amendments would ease the requirement placed on companies to look for U.S. workers before filling a job with a worker holding an H-1B visa. One proposal would simply require “a good faith recruitment of United States workers in accordance with industry standards.”

The current version of the bill requires companies to first offer jobs to qualified U.S. workers before hiring foreign workers.

A business coalition including Accenture, Altria, Hewlett-Packard C. and Intel Corp. supports Hatch’s amendments.