Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is making a final push this week to hold a vote on the U.S. / India nuclear agreement which was transmitted to Congress by President Bush on September 10.
The Associated Press reports:
The Senate majority leader is putting pressure on other senators to vote quickly on a U.S.-India nuclear cooperation accord, even as opponents of the pact urge careful consideration of an endeavor that would reverse three decades of U.S. nuclear policy.
Despite passage in the House, at least one senator, acting anonymously, has used the Senate’s rules to block the accord from coming to a vote in the Senate. Lawmakers are trying to deal with a financial crisis before they leave for the year to campaign for the November elections, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is suggesting that he might call senators back to work in about two weeks for a vote on the accord if objections are not cleared up soon.
Reid spokesman Jim Manley said Monday that Reid, D-Nev., was “doing what he can to try to get it done.”
Two obstacles have kept the agreement, which is generally supported by most members, from moving to a final vote. First, lawmakers have to maneuver around existing law which says that no nuclear agreement may be voted upon in the Senate until thirty days after it was received. Second, as the excerpt above notes, at least one “anonymous” member is blocking the body from taking a vote.
The agreement would send atomic fuel to India in exchange for international inspections of its civilian reactors. Military reactors would not be subject to such review.
Opponents of the agreement argue that it “could spark an atomic arms race in Asia by allowing India to use the extra nuclear fuel that the deal would provide to free up domestic uranium for its weapons program,” the article states.
Update: The Majority Leader’s remarks this morning indicate that a vote on this agreement is possible as early as tomorrow.