Richard Melson

June 2006

US-India Pac

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Richard Melson

Undersecretary Burns and Congressional Leaders Express Confidence in Upcoming Nuclear Deal Votes at an Event Co-hosted by The Congressional Taskforce, USIBA and USINPAC

On Wednesday, June 21, 2006 Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, the Congressional Taskforce on US-Indian Trade, the US India Business Alliance, and USINPAC, held a press conference on Capitol Hill highlighting the issue of civil nuclear cooperation with India. In addition, key members of Congress and the Indian American community were on hand to discuss ways to forge ahead with this increasingly publicized agreement.

Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns announced that the Bush Administration supports the Hyde-Lantos bill. Burns emphasized that by passing the civil nuclear agreement, "we can look ahead and look at America’s foreign interests around the world and say that we gained a new strategic partner in the world."

A deal that was once considered challenging to pass is now being viewed by many lawmakers as not just acceptable but promising. This thought was reiterated by lawmakers including Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA).

With mark up of legislation scheduled for June 27 and 28 in both the House and the Senate, the event was largely centered on the hope and promise of the historic accord. "I am a very optimistic that with sober responsibility on the part of both political bodies and a realistic approach by our administration we will be able to move forward and before the end of July we will be able to pass this legislation," said Ranking Member of the House International Relations Committee, Tom Lantos (D-CA). He added, "That is my goal that I know is the hope of my friend Chairman Hyde and our colleagues Senator Lugar and Biden on the Senate side."

USIBA President Sanjay Puri said, "I feel very hopeful about the positive initiatives taken by the members of Congress regarding this initiative to strengthen our ties with India. USINPAC continues to advocate to members daily about how important this legislation is to our community."

Congressman Lantos did remark that the new Hyde-Lantos bill that the House International Relations Committee marks up next Tuesday does not contain any deal breakers But he reiterated that India’s support of Iran’s nuclear ambitions would be a deal-breaker for Congress.

Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) called upon the Indian American community to leverage its burgeoning relationship with Congress, saying "this is the time to contact [Members of Congress] and tell them this is of great importance to you, us, and the people of India."

House Majority Whip, Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) reinforced the importance among leadership in the House of passing the legislation, remarking that, "as the Committee suggests that this is the most important work they do this year, this is also receiving similar attention in the leadership of the Congress."

Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), a longtime supporter of Indian American relations
closed the conference by stating, "I agree with the headline I saw that read, the US-India nuclear legislation will be the most important bill the committee will consider this Congress."

To read more quotes from key congressional members at the conference go to www.usinpac.com .

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USINPAC is a united, strong and clear voice representing the Indian American community on Capitol Hill, the White House and the State Capitols. We promote issues that are shaped by the emerging concerns of our community. Our mission is to ensure effective representation on issues of concern to Indian Americans. To that end, we provide bipartisan support to candidates for public office who address the community's concerns.

1726 M Street, N.W., Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 861-1900; Phone: (202) 861-0244
Email: info@usinpac.com
http://www.usinpac.com

US-India Political Action Committee

Undersecretary Burns and Congressional Leaders

Express Confidence in Upcoming Nuclear Deal Votes

US-India Political Action Committee usinpac@usinpac.us

Fri, 23 Jun 2006