The Senate has scheduled 5 hours of debate on the bill today beginning this morning. Several amendments have been proposed and will be debated today.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has proposed an amendment that would strip a provision for retroactively lengthening the time for applying for patent term extension. This provision was added to the bill due to lobbying efforts on behalf of a particular drug company.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has proposed an amendment to strip the special business method transitional reexamination program from the bill. Alternatively, she seeks to amend this provision to clarify the definition of a business method covered by the program.
Finally, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has proposed an amendment that would prohibit Congress from diverting PTO fees. The PTO would be permitted to spend all of the money that it collects from users.
Several other Senators have proposed political amendments, but these are the ones dealing with the merits of the bill.
At 4:00 today, the Senate will take roll call votes on the amendments. After vote on these amendments, the Senate plans to vote on the merits of the bill.
If any of the amendments are agreed to prior to passage, the amended bill must be returned to the House for further consideration by that body. If all proposed amendments fail, the passage by the Senate would constitute passage of the final bill. The bill would then proceed to Pres. Obama for signature and enactment.
Congressional action is hard to predict, but at this point it appears that passage is imminent.