March 20, 1996 in Nation/World

Senate Overturns Aids Policy

New York Times

The Senate voted without debate Tuesday to overturn a month-old law that requires the mandatory discharge of members of the armed forces who test positive for the AIDS virus.

Sen. Bob Dole, the majority leader and presumptive Republican presidential nominee, agreed to the move after Sen. William Cohen, R-Maine, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., told Dole that they had lined up 56 votes to overturn the law requiring the discharges.

The language to reverse the policy is in an amendment, sponsored by Cohen and Kennedy, to legislation that would provide money for the rest of the 1996 fiscal year for some of the largest federal departments and the District of Columbia. The amendment was adopted on a unanimous voice vote; later, the Senate approved the overall bill on a vote of 71-29.

But the policy won’t be changed without a House vote, where the effort will encounter opposition.

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