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'Hyde Act' creator dead

world Updated: Dec 01, 2007 03:01 IST
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Henry Hyde, a former Republican member of the US House of Representatives whose name is linked to the Hyde Act, the contentious enabling law on the India-US civil nuclear deal, is dead. He was 83.

Hyde died in Chicago on Thursday morning of complications from heart surgery, according to his son, Anthony Hyde.

It was Hyde who as the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee led the panel's efforts to write what has come to be known as the Henry Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act, allowing the Bush administration to carry out an agreement to supply India nuclear fuel and technology.

President George W Bush signed that act into law on December 18, 2006.

Bush, who awarded Hyde the Medal of Freedom earlier in November, expressed his sadness at the death.

"This fine man believed in the power of freedom, and he was a tireless champion of the weak and forgotten," Bush said. "He used his talents to build a more hopeful America and promote a culture of life."

Apart from the India nuclear deal, Hyde's claim to fame includes his successful battle to impeach former President Bill Clinton. However he failed to persuade the Senate to convict and remove him from office.

Hyde, who served as a member of the House from 1975 until 2007, originally dismissed Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky as a "peccadillo", adding: "You don't impeach him for a peccadillo".

He apparently grew increasingly angry with Clinton and his responses to the House Judiciary Committee, which he then chaired, and shepherded impeachment resolutions alleging perjury and obstruction of justice through both the committee and the full House on nearly straight patty line votes.

Hyde also championed many foreign-aid measures and backed Clinton over a ban on assault weapons. He supported constitutional amendments requiring a balanced budget and prohibiting abortions, flag burning and same-sex marriages.