Mail Costs

The House rejected, 198 to 227, an amendment cutting the fiscal 1992 appropriation for House members' mailing costs from $80 million to $59 million. This occurred as the House passed a bill (HR 2506) appropriating $1.8 billion for legislative branch operations in the coming fiscal year. The amount will rise to about $2.3 billion when the Senate adds its operating expenses.

The House this year began limiting each member's use of the franking, or free-mailing, privilege. Members can spend an amount equal to three times the number of residential mailboxes in their district times the cost of a first-class stamp. This averages to $204,000 per member in 1991.

Amendment sponsors said $59 million, plus surpluses carried forward, is ample for House mail costs.

Opponent William L. Clay (D-Mo.) called the amendment "grandstanding" and unnecessary in light of the new limits on mail costs.

A yes vote was to cut appropriations for members' mail costs.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Gallegly (R) x Rep. Lagomarsino (R) x

Civil-Rights Bill

By a vote of 273 to 158, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 1) making it easier for plaintiffs to file and collect damages on lawsuits alleging job discrimination based on race, sex, religion, disability or national origin. The support fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override President Bush's promised veto of the bill.

Offsetting recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the bill shifts to employers the burden of proving the "business necessity" of challenged employment decisions, and authorizes compensatory and punitive damages to all victims of job discrimination. The bill also outlaws personnel quotas based on race, sex and other factors.

Supporter Hamilton Fish Jr. (R-N.Y.) said: "Nothing in this bill gives employers a reason to hire by the numbers."

Opponent Nancy L. Johnson (R-Conn.) said the bill would "stack the deck against small employers," forcing them to use quotas to head off lawsuits.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Gallegly (R) x Rep. Lagomarsino (R) x

The GOP Rights Bill

By a vote of 162 to 266, the House rejected an alternative civil- rights bill sponsored by the Republican leadership and endorsed by President Bush. The measure shifted the burden of proving "business necessity" of challenged personnel practices to the employer, as does the Democratic bill (above). But the GOP set a lower standard of proof. The GOP bill permitted limited monetary damages in certain cases but did not authorize compensatory and punitive damages to all plaintiffs who win their suits. It also enabled congressional staffers to file job discrimination suits in federal court, whereas the Democratic bill leaves enforcement up to congressional officials.

A yes vote supported the GOP's civil-rights legislation.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Gallegly (R) x Rep. Lagomarsino (R) x

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