House cuts rights commission funds Lack of activity cited as a reason

October 01, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- The House fired a warning shot yesterday at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, chopping its budget and limiting its life in a bipartisan show of displeasure with the independent agency and its record of monitoring civil rights enforcement efforts.

Rejecting President Bush's request for $10 million a year in operating funds, the House placed a $6 million cap on the commission's yearly spending, a cut of $1.5 million a year from the current level.

Mr. Bush's proposed 10-year reauthorization for the agency was reduced to two years.

A key Republican who normally is a stalwart administration supporter, Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, said the commission should be abolished. In the last two years, he noted, the agency has held no hearings and produced only one official report.

"It's time to put this commission out of its misery," he said.

"Fourteen million dollars for one report and no hearings . . . in my opinion is mismanagement of the highest order."

One official at the commission said that it has been more active recently, challenging Mr. Bush's stand on civil rights legislation and defending the use of minority scholarships when they came under attack by the administration.

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