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Senate legislation on nuke deal only in Sept

india Updated: Aug 01, 2006 02:08 IST
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With members of the US Senate preparing to go on recess by weekend, a bill on implementing the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal would be taken up only after Congress reconvenes in the first week of September.

Soon after House or Representativs passed with an overwhelming 359 to 68 majority its version of a bill to implement the deal, it was believed that the Senate could be persuaded to take up its measure before it went home for the summer. But Senate Bill S 3709 -- United States India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act -- will have to wait for now.

White House had reportedly tried hard to get Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to schedule the bill this week.

"We have no indication from the Majority Leader that it (the Senate legislation) will be scheduled prior to recess," a senior Senator said on Monday.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar and leading Senators John Cornyn (Texas) and Ben Nelson (Nebraska) had said recently that from the point of view of scheduling the bill will not be taken up before summer recess.

But scheduling is only one of the problems, as there are persisting objections to the bill from some leading Senators. They want Lugar to find another vehicle to tag his Additional Protocol Agreement between the US and International Atomic Energy Agency, which he had attached to the India legislation, something that has irked his colleagues.

Congressional sources said that objections to the bill will persist from a handful of Senators and criticism may intensify on sanctions imposed on two Indian firms for illegal missile-related trade with Iran.

Some House of Representatives members have slammed Bush Administration for not revealing this information prior to the July 26 vote.

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