COLUMBIA — Democratic state senators have failed in a bid to remove funding from the proposed 2012-13 budget for the voter ID lawsuit.

The Senate defeated 24-17 on Wednesday an amendment stripping $1 million from the attorney general’s office for its fight with the federal government on a state law requiring voters to show photo identification. Subsequent attempts also failed.

Republicans say the law is about preventing voter fraud. The federal government blocked the law in December, saying it could keep minorities from casting ballots. Attorney General Alan Wilson then sued.

Sen. Brad Hutto of Orangeburg called it a bogus lawsuit. He wanted the money shifted toward Wilson’s efforts to block a water permit allowing Georgia to expand its Savannah River port.

The Senate will resume budget debate today.