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Competing civil-rights bills responding to the U.S. Supreme Court's narrow interpretation of the federal anti-sex-discrimination law were introduced in the Congress last month.

Ruling in Grove City College v. Bell last year, the Court held that the civil-rights statute--whose language is similar to laws barring discrimination on the basis of race, handicap, and age--applies only to programs and activities that receive federal aid, and not to the entire institution.

One bill, supported by the Administration and introduced by Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole, would apply the laws on an institutionwide basis, but only to educa-tional institutions.

The other bill, a bipartisan measure similar to one passed by the House last year but defeated in the Senate, would apply the civil-rights laws broadly to those institutions that receive federal aid: state and local governments, educational systems, and corporations or other private organizations.

The chairman of the Senate education subcommittee, like his counterpart in the House, said last week that he opposed any cuts in the Education Department's budget for the next fiscal year, despite pressure from Senate Republican leaders to slash the federal deficit by more than $50 billion.

The Office of Management and Budget and the Senate Budget Committee have proposed cuts of about $300 million in precollegiate-education spending for the year that begins Oct. 1, 1985.

But Senator Robert T. Stafford, Republican of Vermont and chairman of the Labor and Human Re-sources Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and the Humanities, said in an interview that he was prepared to recommend a freeze in education spending, as part of a governmentwide freeze for fiscal 1986.

Senator Stafford added, however, that if defense spending is not cut, "we will have to reconsider our position."

Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole of Kansas tried to develop a consensus among party leaders on budget reductions for fiscal 1986 by Feb.1. But a dispute over defense spending stalled his efforts.

Earlier this month, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Representative Augustus F. Hawkins, Democrat of California, said he, too, opposes a cut in the department's current $17.6-billion budget.

Vol. 04, Issue 20

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