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Roll Call

The House : Civil Rights Act

March 13, 1988

By a vote of 315 to 98, the House gave final congressional approval to a bill making it illegal for colleges, agencies, corporations and other entities receiving federal aid for a specific program to discriminate in any of their programs.

The legislation (SB 557) reverses a 1984 Supreme Court ruling, in a case involving Grove City College in Pennsylvania, that a 1972 anti-discrimination law applied only to specific campus programs receiving federal aid, not to the entire institution. The Administration had used that narrow interpretation in enforcing several other civil rights laws.

The bill does not require teaching hospitals or campus medical units to perform abortions, and it exempts institutions controlled by religious organizations from its reach.

Members voting yes favored the civil rights bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Lungren (R) x

GOP Amendment

By a vote of 146 to 266, the House rejected a Republican attempt to soften SB 557 (above) by making it less difficult for corporations and church-related colleges to gain exemptions from the bill. Schools closely identified with the tenets of a religious organization--not just those controlled by religious groups--were to be exempted from SB 557's broadened application of federal civil rights laws. Also, only the parts of corporations receiving federal aid were to be subjected to the broadened anti-discrimination laws.

Sponsor James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said his amendment should be adopted "in the name of the First Amendment, religious liberty and freedom. . . ."

Opponent Hamilton Fish (R-N.Y) termed the GOP language a loophole that would enable thousands of private schools to gain exemption from the new civil rights law.

Members voting yes wanted to soften the bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Lungren (R) x

Contra Aid

By a vote of 208 to 216, the House defeated legislation (Joint Res 484) drafted by Democrats to appropriate $30.8 million in non-military aid to the American-backed Contra rebels fighting in Nicaragua.

This was a major defeat for the Democratic majority. Party leaders hoped that its approval would help the Contras and deflect charges the Democrats had abandoned them.

The legislation offered food, clothing and medical aid in place of military funding the Administration had unsuccessfully sought last month for the anti-Sandinista forces. House Democrats were instrumental in rejecting that bid.

Members voting yes wanted to provide $30.8 million in non-military aid to the Contras.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Lungren (R) x

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