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Debate on Indo-US N-deal

The legislation is slated for floor debate and vote on Wednesday.
None | By United News of India, Washington
UPDATED ON JUL 26, 2006 02:30 AM IST

The House of Representatives Rules Committee will meet on Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon to formulate a rule on "United States and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006," slated for floor debate and vote on Wednesday.

HR 5682, sponsored by House International Relations Committee (HIRC) Republican Chairman Henry Hyde, the ranking Democrat on the Committee Tom Lantos, is the legislation seeking to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to "specifically exempt India from certain requirements of the Act for a proposed nuclear cooperation agreement.

The legislation for implementing the accord between the two countries was overwhelmingly endorsed by two key congressional panels last month.

It will now go before the House tomorrow and after the summer recess before the Senate sometime in September.

According to indications from Congressional sources, the House will vote overwhelmingly for the deal, since "unprecedented lobbying effort" went into the smooth sailing of the legislation through the two panels of the House and Senate.

Large corporate houses, the business lobby, the US Chamber of Commerce and various Indian American groups undertook a massive lobbying efforts to ensure that India gets the civilian nuclear technology.

Those who did their part in lobbying efforts included top executives of JPMorgan Chase & Co, General Electric(GE) Co and Boeing Co, testifying to India's political clout.

"Last month's vote by the Congressional panels was influenced by pleas from the companies, US business groups and Indo-American business executives," sources said.

The lobbying was "a very impressive organisational effort," according to Representative Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican, who voted against the measure, saying it would not do anything to stop proliferation of nuclear-weapons technology.

Senator Barack Obama, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said there appears to be a very coordinated effort to have every Indian-American, that I know, to contact me before the vote by the Senate panel. Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, said "prominent investment banker" called as well.

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