Federal File: Drafting Legislation; Savoring the Victory

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College students staged a Capitol Hill protest against Reagan Administration policies again this year, but the more than 3,000 of them who visited Congressional offices last week had more than proposed federal student-aid reductions on their minds.

Spokesmen for the dissenting students said they were most concerned with repealing the so-called Solomon amendment, a measure passed by the Congress that would prohibit the granting of federal aid to male students who refuse to register for the draft.

Meanwhile, colleges--which the Administration asked to police the new regulations--were weighing in with their opinions of the amendment. Although Yale University led a group of colleges that said they would replace federal aid with university funds for students who refused to register, the president of Boston University announced that not only federal aid, but the university's own funds, would be denied to draft protestors.

Other college presidents, including those from Cornell University and the University of Michigan, asked the federal government to let the colleges off the hook and to undertake its own verification of students' draft registration.

As for Representative Gerald B. H. Solomon, the New York Republican who sponsored the controversy-causing initiative, he is said to be considering the introduction of a bill that would penalize institutions taking positions such as Yale's, by prohibiting them from receiving any federal funds.

The Committee for Education Funding, an umbrella group of Washington-based organizations that lobby the Congress for an increased federal education budget, has finally eliminated the red ink in its own budget.

The organization, which had for several months owed its retiring executive director $17,000 in back pay, held a fund-raising testimonial dinner for him. On that occasion, the group's members celebrated the heady days when the director, Charles Lee, led them to victory over the Nixon Administration's budget-cutting proposals, as well as more recent victories over the Reagan Administration.

"We worked hard together this year, and we turned around the education budget," exulted Albert D. Sumberg, the committee's president.

"We started with rumors of a 50-percent cut, but we ended with an education budget that was 2 percent higher than the previous year," he said.

By increasing dues paid by member organizations, the committee also hired a new executive director and opened a new office a few blocks from the White House.

Acquisition of the new lobbying chief, Susan Semb, is considered a coup for the education-funding committee. Ms. Semb formerly worked for Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the ranking Democrat on the Labor and Human Resources Committee--which is responsible for education issues in the Senate.


Vol. 02, Issue 25

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