House Speaker Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.) is doing what he can to keep flickering hopes of a civil rights compromise alive. Chances are good that the Speaker will soon meet with AT&T Chairman Robert E. Allen to discuss resuming talks between business and civil rights leaders. Allen heads the human resources task force of the Business Roundtable, which had been trying to cut a deal with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. But the talks blew up when White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu pressured Big Business to back off.
House liberals want to push ahead with a strong civil rights measure that has already cleared committee. The bill has the votes to clear the House but faces a certain veto. Foley is stalling floor action on the legislation to give compromise talks a chance to resume.
In the Senate, Labor & Human Resources Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) shows no sign of delivering his promised version of the civil rights legislation. Last year, Kennedy won bipartisan support for a bill that was ultimately vetoed. But now, Southern Democrats and moderate Republicans are keeping their distance from Kennedy, who seems prepared to wait for the House to act.