The March 4, 2010 Manager’s Amendment to S. 515, known as the Patent Reform Act of 2010 may be substituted for the Senate Judiciary Committee-passed version of S. 515, and then be considered by the Senate as a whole prior to Memorial Day. It is expected that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will ask all Senate offices for unanimous consent to the “hotline” procedure which will substitute the Manager’s Amendment for the passed version of S. 515, and permit the bill to pass the Senate without debate. The hotline bill is then recorded in the Congressional Record as a being agreed to by unanimous consent.
Furthermore, hotlines can include amendments, but limit debate and discussion. A key to passage of the bill is that it does not require individual votes on the amendment or the underlying bill. However, any Senator can throw a “monkey wrench” into the process by putting a hold on the bill, if he or she objects to its provisions. To counter this action, the Administration has thrown its support behind the legislation and urges that the bill be passed this year. Such action may ensure that Democratic Senators line up in support of the hotline and that Republican Senators can be persuaded to not put a hold on the bill. A hotline request is expected to be sent from Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to Republican Senators.
For a more detailed discussion see the IPWatchdog post of earlier this week.