Thursday: Patent reform continues in the House

Democrats on Wednesday said they worry that the bill would not ensure that patent fees collected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stay in that office to help pay for more patent examiners. One amendment up today would eliminate language in the bill allowing the USPTO to set fees.

Others seek to eliminate or delay the move to a “first-inventor-to-file” patent system. Members on Wednesday night debated the constitutionality of such a system.

The House on Thursday will also begin consideration of H.R. 2219, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. Work would begin by debating the rule for that bill, which the House Rules Committee approved on Wednesday.

The Senate meets at 10 a.m. for speeches, and at around 11:30 a.m. is expected to begin 30 minutes of debate on two amendments to S. 679, a bill aimed at streamlining the presidential appointment process.

One amendment from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) would end the ability of the White House to appoint policy czars and prohibit funding for these positions, which do not need Senate approval. An amendment from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) would strike language in the bill that eliminates the need for Senate confirmation of nominees for the position of director, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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