House Approves U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

The House passed a deal to trade in civilian nuclear goods with India today, leaving it up to the Senate to approve the deal before Congress adjourns for the fall campaigns.

Some Democrats and arms control advocates opposed the bill because of some loopholes it left open to India closed to other nations with nuclear weapons. But business interests and the administration pushed hard to get it through, in the end, persuading the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to accept a version of the bill they backed.

Last night, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) urged his colleagues to vote for the bill, but said “I continue to have concerns about ambiguities in the agreement.”

But, he added, that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “made a personal commitment to me that – in a change of policy – the United States will make its ‘highest priority’ at the November meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group the achievement of a decision by all of the nuclear suppliers to prohibit the export of enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology to states that are not members of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation,” he said on the House floor.

President Bush quickly cheered the news, calling it “another major step forward in achieving the transformation of the U.S.-India relationship.”