The House of Representatives was expected to vote Saturday on the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement after a day's delay, the Senate, however, might take longer.
The House and Senate, which were to adjourn on Friday for the November election, will now work through the weekend into next week to finalise a $700-billion rescue package for the US financial system and deal with other matters.
Late Friday, the House suspended rules to take up the deal and other items. Before debate began, the leadership said there would be no more formal votes during the day.
The deal received a boost when Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, dropped plan to impose additional requirements after a call from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice also wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi in support of the agreement.
But Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, insisted on a recorded vote, so the matter was postponed. Because the bill was taken up with the normal rules suspended, a two-thirds majority will be needed for approval, a congressional aide said. But the agreement enjoys broad support.
In the Senate, one member put an anonymous hold on the bill to block a quick vote, sources said. A single senator can use procedural manoeuvres to prevent legislation from passing. The Senate is expected to take up the matter next week