Indo-US N-deal set to face last hurdle in Senate

Indo-US N-deal set to face last hurdle in Senate

Washington: The US Senate is all set to take up the vote on the Indo-US Civil Nuclear agreement on Wednesday with possible amendments to the landmark accord, Majority leader of the Upper House has said.

Senate leader Harry Reid announced that the Bill HR 7081 as passed by the House of Representatives three days ago will be brought for consideration for a 60-minute discussion as the first thing after the House convenes for the day.

The top Nevada Democrat also said that the Senate would also consider two amendments seeking to deal with the US reaction should India conduct another atomic test. However, he did not reveal any further details.

Reid said that one of the amendments is by Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.

“Vote on Wednesday. Two amendments to Indo-US nuclear deal. Final passage on the accord," Reid’s communications director Jim Manley said in an email message.

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

“The bill be considered under the following limitations, 60 minutes of limited debate with the time equally and controlled between the leaders or designees, and the only amendments in the order be only those," he said, adding 30 minutes will be given to Democrat Senators from Wisconsin Russell Feingold and Tom Harkin of Iowa.

Senator Reid also referred to the Bingaman amendment “in event of the Indian test" but did not specify what the amendment was or the other amendment that the Senate is expected to consider," Reid said.

“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,“ Senator Reid said.

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

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

He said “Senate proceed to vote on the motion to concur on the House amendment to the Senate bill upon the disposition of the House message."

“The Senate resume consideration of HR 7081, the India-US cooperative agreement, and that the amendment be voted in the order of offered on Wednesday 1 October, there be two minutes of debate prior to each vote equally divided and controlled and after the vote on each sequence, the succeeded votes be 10 minutes in duration," Senator 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.