Rebecca Juro

ENDA Update: Pelosi Promises Inclusive ENDA Vote Once Enough Support Is Secured

Filed By Rebecca Juro | October 13, 2007 12:02 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: LGBT, politics, queer, transgender, transsexual

HRC, taking credit for the move, and labeling it a success, released this statement earlier tonight.

The Human Rights Campaign has collaborated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to craft a solution to the controversy surrounding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Today, in a meeting with HRC and other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups, Speaker Pelosi took an unprecedented step and committed to giving H.R. 2015, the fully-inclusive version of the bill, a floor vote in the House once enough support for it to pass has been secured. This commitment by the Speaker of the House is an unprecedented departure from the usual delays seen in Congress on an issue that will have already been considered by the full House.

Additionally, as the community continues to advocate and educate Members of Congress to secure enough commitments for final passage, the inclusive version of the legislation will receive committee hearings.

Although H.R. 3685, the version of the bill that provides workplace protections on the basis of sexual orientation only, will move to committee mark-up next week, Speaker Pelosi has given HRC her word that as soon as the commitments to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA are acquired, she will move that bill ahead.

The Task Force was quick to respond, saying:

Task Force responds to the announcement from House Speaker Pelosi to go forward with a vote on a non-inclusive ENDA:

Statement from Matt Foreman, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"We completely disagree with this proposed strategy - it simply makes no sense. If the goal is moving an ENDA that protects all of us, passing a flawed, gay-only bill utterly undermines that objective. The notion that the House of Representatives will be willing to revisit a different ENDA before the end of the calendar year - when it has been unwilling or unable to take up a single pro-gay matter over the last 34 years - is more than implausible. We will do everything possible to convince members to end this misguided course of action."

Personally, I think Matt Foreman's making sense here. While a promise from the Speaker to introduce the inclusive bill if enough support is found is certainly a positive development, I also have to wonder if this isn't simply a way for HRC to be able to show off at least some kind win in support of the transgender community, and for Congressional supporters of the non-inclusive bill to attempt to quell this outpouring of community support for transgender inclusion by declaring a victory and hoping that at least some of the army doesn't read too much into it and goes home.

It's hard, for me at least, to follow the logic of promising to introduce an inclusive version of a bill when you're already actively moving a different, non-inclusive version through committee and markup. The only way this strategy makes sense is if you really have no intention of trying to get the inclusive version passed in the first place.

I suppose we should be happy that we've made Congress blink, but I'm just having a whole lot of trouble thinking of this as a victory, how about you?

UPDATE: Donna Rose has posted a message she received from someone she describes as a "trusted activist friend" on her ENDA page:

You may have seen the following release from the Human Rights Campaign. Please do NOT be distracted by this release.

This is NOT a win. Our sources in Congressional offices are telling us that HRC is ACTIVELY LOBBYING for the non-inclusive bill despite what they are telling us, their members and the press. I have personally heard from friends of mine who work for HRC who are distraught over this tactic. Additionally, this week we have been working with Congresswoman Baldwin on securing Members to a) support HR 2015 and b) oppose any Republican motion to recommit (the fear of losing Democrats on this vote was the excuse given to move the substitute bill).

While we have had great success in securing support, the Members who have not given their support to opposing a motion to recommit have told us they won't give their support because they are hearing double-speak from certain influential individuals and certain influential organizations.

Again, this is NOT a win. This is a creative way of praising individuals for trying to kill HR 2015.

To my knowledge, this information has not yet been verified.

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Interesting that HRC used the word "collaborated".

Something doesn't smell right. Why would you give a floor vote to a competing bill when another bill covering the same issues was already marked up? It makes no sense, and I can't see it happening. Plus, if a bill is already guaranteed a floor vote by the Speaker, theoretically it's been voted out of committee. So why would they then schedule hearings for it? That's not the way I was taught Congress works.

It doesn't seem that anything has changed. The House leadership is still moving the non-inclusive bill forward, and the inclusive one is still waiting in the wings. If the new one passes, it renders the original moot.

yep Rory, you're 100 percent right on this one. You only need to look as far as the updates by Mara Keisling and Pride at Work. The non-inclusive bill is going to be marked up on Thursday.

Becky, I guess you aren't in Clinton's Monica Lewinsky mode... you have to parse everything HRC says...

From Mara:

A team of us just returned from a meeting with leadership staff. I wish I had better news to report. Here's the rundown:

They intend to move forward with a non-inclusive bill. They intend to schedule the sexual orientation-only bill for next Thursday in the House Education and Labor Committee.

While they have offered to keep HR2015 (the fully inclusive bill) on the table for consideration, it was clear to everyone at the meeting that with this proposed strategy, it would be much more difficult to have a vote on a united bill anytime soon. HR2015 is the bill we must continue to fight for.

From Pride at Work:

Democratic Leadership Moves Forward With Plan To Push Sexual
Orientation Only ENDA

Friday- October 12, 2007: Today in the U.S. Capitol, a coalition of LGBT and allied organizations, including Pride At Work, met
with leadership from Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Frank, and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin's office about the status of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Pride At Work is part of the UnitedENDA campaign which is calling for passage of H.R. 2015, ENDA, which includes gender identity. Our community has spoken and demanded an inclusive bill. Rest assured that this demand was vocally expressed to
leadership in the House. Unfortunately, House leadership has decided to go ahead with the strategy of pushing an inadequate bill that does not include gender identity.

It should be noted that Congresswoman Baldwin opposes this strategy.

Pride At Work opposes this strategy unequivocally. We have been raising our voices and this struggle is far from over.

We encourage you now to call members of the House Education and Labor Committee and ask that they only support HR 2015, ENDA with gender identity inclusion and not HR 3685. The members of the committee are below. Take a moment and call some offices and let them know that you support an inclusive bill. The House switchboard is 202-224-3121. If you have a good relationship
with one of the Representatives below or your union does, please ask them to make a call.

We also ask you to call Speaker Pelosi directly and demand she take the road that protects all in our community and not just a few.

Unfortunately. just like with the Iraq War, our leadership is taking the road of political expedience. We have to let them know we will not travel that road with them.

We expect the bill to go to committee this coming Thursday, please speak up now.

The Committee members are listed below.

1. George Miller, CA
2. Dale E. Kildee, MI
3. Donald M. Payne, NJ
4. Robert E. Andrews, NJ
5. Robert C. ``Bobby'' Scott, VA
6. Lynn C. Woolsey, CA
7. Rubén Hinojosa, TX
8. Carolyn McCarthy, NY
9. John F. Tierney, MA
10. Dennis J. Kucinich, OH
11. David Wu, OR
12. Rush D. Holt, NJ
13. Susan A. Davis, CA
14. Danny K. Davis, IL
15. Raúl M. Grijalva, AZ
16. Timothy H. Bishop, NY
17. Linda T. Sánchez, CA
18. John P. Sarbanes, MD
19. Joe Sestak, PA
20. David Loebsack, IA
21. Mazie K. Hirono, HI
22. Jason Altmire, PA
23. John A. Yarmuth, KY
24. Phil Hare, IL
25. Yvette D. Clarke, NY
26. Joe Courtney, CT
27. Carol Shea-Porter, NH

HRC is getting pretty good at putting lipstick on a pig.

I read those as well Marti, but I honestly do think that getting Congress to do anything that acknowledges that transpeople have to be recognized and dealt with as a viable minority interest in some way is a step in the right direction. Would you rather go back to the days when they just ignored us completely?

That said, I totally agree this is nothing more than lipstick on a pig on HRC's part. I just find it interesting that they were able to draft the Speaker of House to play a role in their charade.

Right on, Marti. We all need to band together and make this happen. Join my twitter campaign to educate Congress about ENDA; see