Voting on US-India nuke deal bill postponed to next week

September 27th, 2008 - 8:26 am ICT by ANI  

Washington, Sept.27 (ANI): The debate on the Bill related to the US-India nuclear deal is over in the House of Representatives, but voting on it has been postponed to next week. Earlier, last minute hitches appeared on Friday in the Senate for passage of the Bill, but an identical measure inched forward in the House of Representatives for early approval. An anonymous lawmaker in the Senate had put a “hold” on consideration of the Bill in the Senate which must be lifted before the agreement is brought to its floor or approved by a Unanimous Consent Agreement. It, however, was not clear to what provisions of the Senate Bill that a lawmaker was objecting to. The “hold” process involves a law maker telling the Majority leader and Minority Leader that he/she is against the “hotlining” of the Bill without debate and vote through Unanimous Consent. However, in the House of Representatives, Howard Berman, a known opponent of the deal, agreed to support the Senate version of the Bill, saying that it was in consonance with the Hyde Act. Berman, who is the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, said he backed the Bill after the Bush Administration assured him that they will push for an NSG decision prohibiting the export of enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technologies to states that are not party to NPT. The Senate Majority leader Harry Reid had made no mention of this “hold” issue in his opening remarks to the Senate while laying out the agenda on Friday morning. But he had indicated that the Agreement will be taken up only next week as the Senate gears itself for extra days beyond on Friday, when the session was scheduled to end. On Thursday, suspense marked proceedings when Berman introduced the first version as Singh met Bush at the White House during which they were keen to sign the deal entered between them three years ago. But that was not to be in the absence of Congressional nod. Berman’’s revised version and the Senate bill still have provisions that seek to prevent nuclear cooperation with India in case New Delhi decides to conduct a test. Experts feel that the harmonisation of Berman’’s bill with the Senate version was an attempt to ensure a quick passage in the House after which it could go to the Senate. The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to Bush for having decisively intervened at various crucial levels to move the deal forward. (ANI with inputs)

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