Senate Democratic leaders have killed a measure to combat discrimination in Senate hiring by deciding not to bring it to a floor vote this session.
Sen. John H. Glenn (D-Ohio) said he presented the measure for scheduling at a meeting of the Democratic Policy Committee and chairmen of major Senate committees, Wednesday, but that it was turned down.
The measure, a resolution providing for a six-member board to decide discrimination complaints and review Senate employment practices, was approved by two committees and moved to the Senate calendar last spring. Its passage would be almost certain if it were brought to a vote, supporters of the resolution said.
Glenn said the decision came at a ("private meeting" and was made by consensus rather than "by a hard vote". Although the vote was final, Glenn said he "still would like to see it brought up (on the floor) because it is needed."
The decision was a "monumental cover-up by senators who know they'd have to vote for it" if it had been scheduled, civil rights and labor lawyer Joseph Rauh charged yesterday.
Rauh spoke at a news conference where Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) announced that she and Rep. Morris Udall (D-Ariz.) have introduced a similar measure in the House.
Rauh said the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which he serves as counsel, "will be back next week," and for the next 100 years, attempting to get the antidiscrimination measure enacted. "It's got to pass, but the question is how soon," Rauh said.
The House now has only a voluntary structure for investigating discrimination complaints. A committee of House members and staffers can review charges only against the 108 members who have consented. Schroeder said there are "shocking omissions" from the list of participants, omissions tha t might be politically damaging to certain members if they were publicized.
Besides the satisfied evidence of sex, race and other forms of bias in congressional hiring, Schoeder said there are often problems of staffers being assigned duties outside their job descriptions. The discrimination and abuse practices "cross all lines among members, she said.
The Senate pledged in 1976 to end viewed as possibly giving impetus to similar House action in this session, in important because Congress "has required this of every other business and organization in the country through civil rights legislation, Glen said.