Senate agrees to vote on final passage of patent reform bill

Prior to the vote on passage, which is set for after 4 p.m., the upper chamber will engage in five-hours of debate and votes on three amendments that pertain to the legislation. 

The most controversial amendment of the three is sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and in effect would prohibit the federal government from using funds raised through patent fees for unrelated purposes.

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 The House already rejected similar language contained in that amendment, and earlier in the day Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is the floor manager for the patent bill, said its additon would likely “kill” patent reform efforts.

The other two amendments offered by Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), pertain to patent term extensions and a transitional program for covered business method patents, respectively.

Before adjourning the Senate at about 8 p.m. Reid also outlined the schedule for the rest of the week saying the Senate would move to a procedural vote on a joint resolution of disapproval of the president’s exercise of authority to increase the debt limit. That vote will occur after President Obama delivers his "jobs" speech to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night.

Reid said if that resolution is taken up he might hold the Senate open “for a long time” on Friday to "dispose" of it.

The Senate is set to return at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.



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