The bill also survived an amendment offered by Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFederal watchdog calls on Congress, Energy Dept. to overhaul nuclear waste storage process Senate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam Republicans caught in California's recall trap MORE (D-Calif.) that would have stripped language switching the nation’s patent system to a “first-to-file” system, gutting the bill of one of its most fundamental actions. The Senate voted to table that measure in a 87-13 vote.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPhotos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (D-Vt.), who is managing the floor debate, said last week he hoped the bill would win final passage by Thursday afternoon.

Limiting debate, or reaching cloture, required 60 votes while the vote on final passage will require a simple majority. Now that cloture has been reached, the Senate will spend a maximum of 30 hours on further debate before the final vote where the bill is expected to pass by a wide margin.

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Amendments are allowed during the post-cloture period of debate with unanimous consent. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee began considering several versions of the Patent Reform Act starting in 2005 but ran into opposition and various obstacles along the way. The last time Congress enacted significant patent reform was more than 60 years ago.

The three no votes were Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Jim Risch (R-ID.)

--This story was updated at 9:34 on Tuesday