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US Senate to take up N-deal for hearing on Sept 18


Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | September 13, 2008 23:13 IST

Setting the stage for fast track approval of the 123 Agreement by the US Congress, the Senate will take it up for hearing on Thursday with both sides hoping to wrap up the Indo-US nuclear deal during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] visit to Washington on September 25.
   
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns will testify on Capitol Hill before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee headed by Chairman Joseph Biden, who is also the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, during the hearing on September 18.
    
Only 10 working days are left in the current Congressional session which ends on September 26 before the November 4, Presidential elections in the US.
    
US President George W Bush [Images] has invited Prime Minister Singh to the White House on September 25 when the two may sign the pact if it is approved by then.
    
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also has Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama [Images] as one of its members, but it is not clear if both Biden and Obama will be present at the hearing on Thursday afternoon, given their busy campaigning schedule.
    
Biden has been highly supportive of the bi-partisan effort on Capitol Hill to get the initiative through the legislative process.
    
Political observers and members of the Indian American community, who have been watching the progress of the process pertaining to the civilian nuclear deal, say the Senate is a place where particular attention has to be focussed on because of the manner in which it operates--by unanimous consent.
    
This means that not a single Senator should express objection to the movement of the legislative package for consideration and vote.




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