Late today, and after two hours of discussion, Democrats beat back an effort by Republicans, who mustered only 48 of 60 votes needed to end the debate and force a floor vote on a pending FISA bill.
However, Democrats also failed by an identical margin in their bid to extend a temporary FISA law 30 days beyond Friday, when it sunsets. It's unknown what the next steps for the bill are or whether the Protect America Act will lapse without an alternative.
The Senate will resume debate on reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in a few minutes (3 p.m.) as a temporary law passed in August is set to expire on Friday.
Last week, the Senate killed a bill that did not shield telephone companies from lawsuits involving the government's warrantless surveillance program. That's a major point of contention among Democrats, who are divided over competing measures to revamp FISA.
On Thursday, the Senate rejected a proposal by the Senate Judiciary Committee to expand the FISA court's oversight.
So far, the Senate's Intelligence Committee version is the only one standing while several amendments have been rebuffed. Sponsored by committee Chairman John Rockefeller of West Virginia, that bill is favored by the White House because it grants the telephone companies the retroactive legal immunity they are seeking for their past cooperation on the NSA program.
A vote on cloture could come as early as today to end the debate and move the proposal closer to a full vote. If passed, the bill would have to be reconciled in conference with the House, which passed its version last fall.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) and House Judiciary Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) last Thursday called for a 30-day extension of the current law to allow for more debate. That plea came after the White House last week allowed House staff to view records related to the warrantless program after eight months of resistance to such disclosure.
To catch the Senate's live action, watch the feed at C-SPAN2.