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Bush administration confident of Senate clearing N-deal on Wednesday

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | September 30, 2008 09:24 IST

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The Bush administration is confident that the approval legislation on the US-India civilian nuclear deal will be cleared by the Senate "most likely" on Wednesday.

The message is said to have been conveyed to a small group of top Indian-American community leaders on Monday by senior White House officials, a source privy to the goings on told PTI.

"We are confident that just like last time, the bill will be passed by a substantial majority. With that a new era will begin for India's nuclear programme," the officials were quoted by the source as saying.

Unlike the House of Representatives, which needed a two-thirds majority, the Senate requires only a simple majority to approve the legislation.

The Senate was expected to convene a session on Tuesday in spite of a Jewish holiday to take up the bill along with other legislations.

But before the House rejected the $700 billion financial bailout package to rescue bankrupt financial institutions, Senate Majority leader Reid said on Monday that the "India nuclear agreement" will be coming up for a vote only on Wednesday when the Senate reconvenes after the holiday.

"In the meantime we're working to see if we can complete an agreement to move and complete the Indian nuclear treaty also on the same day, that would be Wednesday," he said.

"And that would allow all afternoon today, all day on Tuesday, and Wednesday to work on those two items," the Nevada Democrat said, referring to the emergency economic bailout package as also the approval legislation to the nuclear deal with India.

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