The Democratic-majority Senate affirmed in three separate votes Wednesday its commitment to protect from civil lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government wiretap American telephone and computer lines without court authorization after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. It turned back three amendments offered during final debate on a bill to overhaul rules on secret government eavesdropping. The votes suggest easy passage for the surveillance bill later Wednesday and signal an end to almost a year of wrangling between the House of Representatives and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, and Congress and the White House over the president's program of wiretapping without court warrants. The long congressional fight has centered on one question: whether to shield from civil lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on American phone and computer lines after Sept. 11, without the permission or knowledge of a secret court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The lawsuits allege that the White House and the companies violated U.S. law by going around the FISA court to start the wiretaps.