Bennett Hearings Scheduled

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Washington--Secretary-designate of Education William J. Bennett was scheduled to be questioned Monday of this week at confirmation hearings before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

The committee was expected to recommend that the whole Senate approve Mr. Bennett's nomination.

The panel's chairman, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, had expressed his support for Mr. Bennett, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, on Jan. 10, the day he was chosen by President Reagan to succeed Terrel H. Bell as secretary.

Focus of Questioning

Questioning was expected to focus on Mr. Bennett's record on civil-rights issues, in addition to his views on the federal role in educa-tion and the status of the Cabinet-level Education Department.

The chairman of the Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and the Humanities, Senator Robert T. Stafford, Republican of Vermont, said he sees the hearings as "a real opportunity to get Bennett on the record ... on his commitment to the Education Department, to the Education Department's budget, ... [and to questions] of equity and access," said Bruce S. Post, an aide to the Senator.

Upon his nomination, Mr. Bennett was ordered by President Reagan to study a possible reorganization of the department. (See Education Week, Jan. 23, 1985.)

Affirmative-Action Stance

Senator Stafford and Democratic members of the panel were preparing to quiz Mr. Bennett on his refusal, as chairman of the neh, to submit an affirmative-action hiring plan for the agency--which employs about 290 people--to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Representative Cardiss Collins, Democrat of Illinois and chairman of the House panel that held hearings last July on this refusal, last week asked to testify as a witness before the committee after the senators question Mr. Bennett, according to Edwin Darrell, a spokesman for Senator Hatch.

And Senator Paul Simon, Democrat of Illinois, who is not a member of the committee, said he intends to participate in the questioning of Mr. Bennett.--jh

Vol. 04, Issue 19

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