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Nuclear Deal Passes Senate Foreign Relations

UNIPAC Press Release

The US India civil nuclear agreement has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with an overwhelming majority vote of 14 to 2.  Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Ranking Democrat Joseph Biden (D-DE) came together to draft bipartisan legislation and led the effort to have it passed by the committee.  Dubbed the "Lugar-Biden Bill", it differs from President Bush's original legislation but does not contain any so-called deal-breakers.

At the vote, Chairman Lugar commended the agreement as "the most important strategic diplomatic initiative undertaken by President Bush."  He continued, "By concluding this pact and the far-reaching set of cooperative agreements that accompany it, the President has embraced a long-term outlook that seeks to enhance the core strength of our foreign policy in a way that will give us new diplomatic options and improve global stability."

Commenting upon the implications of the bill, Senator Biden deemed the legislation “much more consequential than the subject matter to which it pertains.”   He added, “There is no other strategic relationship that is as important.”   Citing the trust necessary in moving forward with the historic accord, Biden nevertheless hailed the legislation as an overall “victory.” 

Chairman of USINPAC, Sanjay Puri commented, "This is another victory for the Indian American community. Just a short time ago, critics were saying that this deal was dead.  But the community came together and worked hard everyday and it is because of the community's efforts that this agreement has passed the House International Relations Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee."

Senator George Allen (D-VA), who has been the most vocal supporter for the agreement on the Foreign Relations Committee since it was announced in July of 2005, asserted that “the United States wants India as a partner,” Allen also described the accord as a “great marriage” that would stand the test of time 50 years from now.

USINPAC Executive Director, Supriya Christopher stated, "This is a major step forward, but it's not the final step. We still need to ensure that this passes the House and Senate as soon as possible, and that no deal-breakers are added.  We are very optimistic that this will happen, and USINPAC will be working nonstop on behalf of the community to make sure every Member of Congress understands the importance of this deal."

Senators voting against the bill were Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).  For up-to-date information regarding this vote and progress on the civilian nuclear agreement, please check the US-India Nuclear Deal link at www.usinpac.com.

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