Statement on Proposed Legislation to Amend the Fair Housing Act


August 1, 1988


The Senate is scheduled to consider shortly legislation we have long sought to strengthen the Fair Housing Act. That act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. I am extremely pleased at the swift congressional response to the call in my legislative message at the beginning of this session of Congress for the enactment of new civil rights legislation to strengthen the Fair Housing Act. Among other things, the legislation extends the protection of the act to prohibit housing discrimination against those with handicaps, one of my key legislative goals.


Today I received a welcome report from Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Sam Pierce and Attorney General Ed Meese that a package of amendments with broad support has been fashioned to further improve the bill that the House of Representatives passed in June. The package ensures appropriate roles for Federal, State and local government in protecting the housing rights of persons with handicaps, improves arrangements for the conduct of lawsuits by the Federal Government to enforce the act, and protects the rights of older Americans.


I urge the Senate and then the House to pass the bill swiftly, to advance the day when I will receive from the Congress the landmark civil rights bill for which we have worked so long and hard.