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Lawmakers to go ahead with vote on Dubai firm ports deal

[JURIST] US lawmakers have indicated that they intend to press ahead with a vote next week on legislation to block the transfer of operations at 6 US ports to United Arab Emirates-owned Dubai Ports World. The controversial deal is widely considered to be dead after DPW announced Thursday that it would transfer its operating rights, newly acquired from British P&O, to a US firm, but some observers say that transfer might not be as easy as it might sound and that lawmakers would take no chances.

Last Wednesday the US House Appropriations Committee [official website] voted 62-2 [JURIST report] to amend an emergency appropriations bill for Iraq and Gulf Coast reconstruction with a provision [PDF] blocking the deal, and a spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert says that a vote in the full House would take place Wednesday or Thursday. The White House has threatened to veto the appropriations bill if it comes forward with that provision. Even if the amendment is defeated, however, extended debate on it could be politically damaging to President Bush, who has come in for sharp criticism from members of his own Republican party for allowing the deal to go as far as it did. Reuters has more.

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