Senate Panel Adopts Policy On Gay Ban In Military

LAWMAKERS uneasy with President Clinton's new policy on homosexuals serving in the military are welcoming a Senate measure that discourages gays from joining the armed forces.

Meeting behind closed doors, the House Armed Services subcommittee on military forces and personnel July 23 adopted by voice vote a policy crafted by Sen. Sam Nunn (D) of Georgia, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The policy states that military service is unique, operating under rules not found in civilian society, and homosexuality creates an unacceptable risk to unit cohesion and order.

The policy continues Mr. Clinton's interim change of not questioning recruits about their sexual orientation, but allows a future administration to reinstate the practice. Three other amendments covering the spectrum on the fractious issue - from writing the ban into law to ending the 50-year-old prohibition - failed on voice votes. Congress's approval rating

Congress's approval rating has sunk to the same 24 percent level it was at three years ago when it also was linked to a tax-laden, deficit-reduction plan, according to a new USA Today/CNN survey. The only time in the last 20 years it was lower was during the summer of 1979, when the congressional approval rating bottomed out at 19 percent.

The poll released July 27 found that 65 percent of those questioned now disapprove of Congress, and that only 39 percent believe that most members deserve to be reelected. Two of three - 67 percent - say members of Congress should be limited to 12 years in office, but 58 percent say their own members deserve to be reelected.

The poll also found these favorability ratings for key administration players:

* President Clinton: 51 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable.

* Hillary Rodham Clinton: 56 percent to 34 percent.

* Vice President Al Gore Jr.: 55 to 30.

* Attorney General Janet Reno: 55 to 14, with many holding no opinion.

* Secretary of State Warren Christopher: 39 to 14.

* Secretary of Defense Les Aspin: 36 to 19.

Counselor David Gergen was viewed favorably by 23 percent and unfavorably by 13 percent, but 37 percent had never heard of him. Thirty-six percent had never heard of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.

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