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US Senate to take up Indo-US nuke deal voting tonight

US Senate to take up Indo-US nuke deal voting tonight

The US Senate is scheduled to take up the Indo US nuclear deal legislation for debate and voting on Wednesday night, three days after the House of Representatives approved the accord.

Unlike the House of Representatives which needed a two-thirds majority, the Senate requires only a simple majority to approve the legislation.

Senate leader Harry Reid announced that the Bill will be brought for consideration for a 60-minute discussion as the first thing after the House convenes for the day.

He added that the Senate would also consider two amendments seeking to deal with the US reaction, should India conduct another atomic test.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed the hope that the accord would pass the final legislative hurdle.

Indo-US N-deal faces amendments as Senate prepares to vote

Two amendments that can break the Indo-US nuclear deal have been proposed as the US Senate takes up voting on Wednesday, the legislation that can stamp its seal of approval to the landmark agreement between the two countries.

Two Senators, Byron Dorgan and Jeff Bingaman, both Democrats, have introduced two amendments to ensure that US nuclear exports to India do not help boost India’s nuclear weapons programme.

Already approved by the House of Representatives, the Bill has a paragraph that the US can cease nuclear cooperation with India if New Delhi conducts a test.

The amendment proposed by Dorgan says that “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the US may not export, transfer, or re-transfer any nuclear technology, material, equipment, or facility under the Agreement if the Government of India detonates a nuclear explosive device after the date of the enactment of this Act.”

Bingaman has proposed that if India detonates a nuclear weapon after the date of the enactment of the Act, the US President has to certify to Congress that no American technology, material, equipment, or facility supplied to India under the Agreement assisted New Delhi’s test.

Unlike the House of Representatives which needed a two-thirds majority, the Senate requires only a simple majority to approve the legislation.

Earlier, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid announced that the Bill HR 7081 as passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday will be brought for consideration for a 60-minute discussion as the first thing after the House convenes on Wednesday.

He also said that the Senate would also consider two amendments sought by Dorgan.

“I ask unanimous consent that after the prayer and pledge, my remarks and any remarks of the leaders on Wednesday, 1st October, the Senate proceed to the consideration of HR 7081, which is at the desk,” Reid said on Tuesday.

He said the Bill will be considered for an hour of limited debate with the time equally and controlled between the leaders or designees. Thirty minutes will be given to two Democrat Senators – Russell Feingold and Tom Harkin.

“The amendment be subject to a 60-vote threshold and if the amendment achieves that threshold, it be agreed to,” Reid said, stressing that if the amendment does not achieve that threshold, then it was to be withdrawn.

“With respect to each amendment the Senate proceed to vote upon disposition of all amendments, the general debate time, the bill be read a third time, the Senate proceed to pass on the bill and the passage of the bill requires 60 votes,” Reid said.

The top Senate leader said that the final vote on the Bill will not come until after 7 pm on Wednesday (after 4:30 am IST on Thursday).

“At 7:00 pm (Wednesday Washington Time) that the House (Senate) resume to HR 25 that the time is equally controlled between the leaders and designees,” Reid said.

Unlike the House of Representatives which needed a two-thirds majority, the Senate requires only a simple majority to approve the legislation.

A clearance in the Senate will allow India and the US to sign the landmark accord and resume bilateral nuclear trade.

India has already signed a civil atomic cooperation agreement with France, ending 34-years of nuclear isolation.

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October 1, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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