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Fate of Grove City Bill Is in Doubt

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Washington--The fate of a major civil-rights measure remained in doubt in the Senate late last week, hindered by procedural roadblocks and the legislative rush to complete action on spending bills and other matters before the scheduled adjournment of the 98th Congress on Oct. 5.

The bill, which is intended to nullify the U.S. Supreme Court's narrow interpretation this year of the federal law barring sex discrimination in education, cleared one hurdle last Thursday night. The Senate voted 51 to 48 to accept the bill as an amendment to a temporary funding bill that had to be passed to keep the Education Department and most other federal agencies operating after Oct. 1.

An aide to Senator Bob Packwood, the Oregon Republican who is one of the bill's main sponsors, said she expected debate and a possible vote last Saturday on the proposed civil-rights act of 1984.

After the Thursday night vote on "germaneness," Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker of Tennessee offered amendments to the funding bill on behalf of Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and the bill's leading opponent, on the issues of abortion, busing, and gun control.

The civil-rights legislation, which the House approved last June, had been attached earlier in the week to a federal highway bill, which then was not brought up for further action.

Some observers said that the close vote on germaneness suggested that the bill may not pass, but supporters said they were optimistic and that votes on germaneness are traditionally tight.--jh

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