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News Briefs, part 2

House Tenatively Approves Spending Reduction Package

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

The House last night tentatively approved an administration-backed $37 billion package of spending reductions, while the White House and Democratic leaders worked hard to put down an insurrection of Democratic and Republican deficit hawks who advocate nearly three times as much in cuts.

Reps. Timothy J. Penny and John R. Kasich, R-Ohio, proponents of a bipartisan plan for $90 billion of spending cuts over the next five years, held out dim hopes of overcoming a high-powered lobbying effort orchestrated by the White House and House Democratic leaders to stop their amendment.

The Penny-Kasich plan was drafted by conservative Democrats and Republicans who contend Congress and the administration didn't go far enough last summer in slashing planned long-term spending. Clinton promised another vote this fall on spending cuts, as the price for gaining conservative Democratic support for his budget, but the spending cuts demanded by the Penny-Kasich forces were far greater than what the adminstration had expected.

The stage for Monday night's fight was set after the House voted 272-163 to approve the $37 billion savings plan favored by the White House. The plan would get most of its savings by concretizing the Clinton administration's proposal to reduce the federal workforce by 252,000 positions. It would also trim $1.9 billion from 1994 spending bills and implement 40 reforms recommended by Vice President Al Gore's "reinventing government" taskforce.

Judges Reject Gays Measure

Los Angeles Times

SAN FRANCISCO

California judges have rejected a requirement that would have prohibited them from joining groups that discriminate against gays, according to a secret-ballot poll made public Monday.

Sixty-four percent of the 1,173 judges who responded to a ballot voted against adding sexual orientation to a code of conduct that already prohibits membership in organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, gender and religion.

The change would have prohibited judges from sitting on councils for the Boy Scouts of America or joining any group that banned gays and lesbians. The California Judges Association, a voluntary professional group of most of the state's trial and appellate judges, conducted the vote.

The code already prohibits judges from discriminating against gays in judicial proceedings and requires them to prevent lawyers and court staff from engaging in such bias in the courtroom.

Jon Davidson, senior staff council of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, said supporters of the code amendment will try to resurrect it in the future. Judges who violate the code of conduct can be disciplined.

"It is profoundly disappointing that the judges sitting in California refuse to personally abide by principles of equality of all persons," Davidson said. "I will predict this will not be the last attempt to have the change come about."