Washington, Sept 27 : The US House of Representatives is likely to vote on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal later tonight as the debate on the Bill was wrapped up in 40 minutes.
However, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has indicated that the legislation on the subject in the upper Chamber will be taken up and passed only next week.
Support for the nuclear deal came from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, a known opponent of the deal, who said, "The deal is a positive step as it will bring India into the non-proliferation regime."
Berman said, "I'm a strong advocate of closer US-India ties, including peaceful nuclear cooperation. I voted for the Hyde act which established a framework for such cooperation. The bill before us today will approve the US-India agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation,"
Democrat Edward Markey, who led the charge on behalf of those opposed to the Bill, insisted on a recorded vote at the end of the debate following which the voting was postponed and it is now expected to be taken up on Sunday.
Markey questioned not only the judgement of Bush administration in going for the deal but also the non-proliferation gains.
The debate on the House floor brought out law makers along expected lines in supporting and opposing the revised Bill introduced by Chairman Berman, who had reservations over the deal and is understood to have brought the second version after senior Bush Administration officials talked to him on the need for early nod to the civil nuclear initiative.
However, the Congressman said he still has concerns about ambiguities in the agreement and that several documents should be inserted to clarify these.
For most part of the debate, the support for the Bill came along bi-partisan lines.
The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has lent strong support to the Indo-US nuclear deal.eanwhile, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is leaving for the United States tonight.