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US Congress may not take up N-deal before year-end

July 24, 2008 09:03 IST

A senior Democratic lawmaker has said that the likelihood of the Congress taking up the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal before the year-end is 'very' difficult.

"My perspective regarding likelihood of the US Congress taking up the nuclear issue again before the year-end is that as a practical matter, it will be very difficult," Jim McDermott said in a statement.

"I have closely watched the recent developments in India concerning the nuclear energy issue and the confidence vote for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and his government. But time is running out," he said.

Agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group must be obtained before the issue can reach Congress, the Congressman explained.

"The primary focus in US over the next few months will be on politics leading up to the November election in which the American people will elect a new President, vote on all 435 House Members and one-third of the US Senate.

"Congress will recess in early August for the political party conventions, return in September for only a few weeks prior to adjournment for the November election, and then return again for a few weeks after the election.

"It is hard to see how Congress will have sufficient time to act before the end of the year," the Democrat said.

Meanwhile, Co Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans in the House of Representatives, Joe Wilson, has indicated that lawmakers will be coming back for a Lame Duck session after the Presidential and Congressional elections of November 4, 2008.

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