Van Nuys, CA -- Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has released the following statement about yesterday's decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the expectation that the Bush Administration will ask Congress to consider the U.S.-India civilian nuclear cooperation agreement starting this week:
"I support cooperation on civilian nuclear energy with India. I oppose policies that would lead to a nuclear arms race or undermine proliferation standards.
"Before we vote, Congress needs to study the NSG decision, along with any agreements that were made behind the scenes to bring it about. If the Administration wants to seek special procedures to speed congressional consideration, it will have to show how the NSG decision is consistent with the Hyde Act as Secretary Rice promised, including which technologies can be sent to India and what impact a nuclear test by India would have. The burden of proof is on the Bush Administration so that Congress can be assured that what we're being asked to approve conforms with U.S. law."
In an appearance before the Foreign Affairs Committee on February 13, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assured Chairman Berman that any NSG decision “will have to be completely consistent with the obligations of the Hyde Act.”
Berman voted for the Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006. The Hyde Act and the Atomic Energy Act require that after the Administration submits the U.S.-India civilian nuclear cooperation agreement to Congress, 30 days of continuous congressional session must elapse before a resolution of approval can be introduced. Only by first passing new legislation could Congress set aside the 30-day requirement.