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Home > News > PTI

N-deal's fate hinges on poll results

November 07, 2006 00:49 IST

The Indo-US civilian nuclear deal will fight for space with two other 'top priority' bills in the lame duck session of the United States Senate from November 13.

However, Indian-American community leaders are hopeful that it will get through due to the bipartisan support it enjoys.

The outcome of the Tuesday's Congressional elections will be key, especially as it pertains to the strength of the Democrats in the Senate.

The argument advanced is that even if the Democrats get hold of the House and make major inroads into the Senate, it will have definite repercussions for the Senate session.

And it will be an entirely different ball game if Democrats won both the House and the Senate.

The top priority assigned to the civilian nuclear deal does not mean that this is going to be the first order of business when Senate reconvenes.

It is one of the three top priorities -- the other two being the Vietnam Trade Bill and Domestic Surveillance legislation.

Preliminary indications are that the Vietnam Trade Bill could be the first to be taken up as President George W Bush is heading to Hanoi around next week for an official visit to Vietnam to be followed by the Leaders' Summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum on November 18 and 19.

Bush is reportedly keen on having the Vietnam Trade Bill passed prior to his visit.

The second could be the domestic surveillance legislation on which there is bitter acrimony.

On the civilian nuclear deal, the two parties are yet to come to any firm understanding on how the legislation will proceed on the floor.

Further, a point is being made in some quarters that the political environment in the aftermath of November 7 coupled with the heated rhetoric on the floor on Vietnam and domestic surveillance will impact in the manner in which lawmakers take on the civilian nuclear deal.

Commenting on the session, John Zogby, a top pollster, said, "Democrats will not be inclined to give President Bush anything substantive in foreign policy. And this would include the civilian nuclear deal.

"That the nuclear deal has strong bipartisan support is beside the point."

But senior Indian-American community leaders are confident that the nuclear deal will get done in the Lame Duck session.

"The leadership of both parties realise the importance of India and the civilian nuclear agreement is beneficial to the United States. It is good for the US," Ashok Mago, the president of the Texas based US-India Forum and Founding Chair of the Greater Dallas Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, said.

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