The office of Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado has confirmed that he has signed on as a co-sponsor of S1584, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009.
Senator Bennet is the first Senator to co-sponsor since the Senate bill was introduced back at the beginning of August. This movement, which I hope is a signal of more Senators co-sponsoring soon, is very, very welcome indeed.
Senator Bennet is the 40th co-sponsor. There are, however, 9 more Senators who have privately confirmed their support for ENDA, and another 9 beyond that whose prior track records indicating a likelihood of support in the future. 60 are needed to overcome the expected filibuster.
It is important to thank our friends and supporters. I ask that you call or email Senator Bennet's office and say "THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ENDA."
Here's his number: 202-224-5852 (click here for email)
So how many votes do we have in the Senate, and how many more do we need and who will they come from? My calculations after the jump.
How Many Votes in the Senate?
Senator Bennet is the 40th co-sponsor.
Nine Senators have privately indicated that they will support ENDA, but have not signed on as co-sponsors. That makes 49 votes. These are:
1. Mark Begich (D-AK)
2. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
3. Max Baucus (D-MT)
4. Jon Tester (D-MT)
5. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
6. Ben Nelson (D-NE),/i
7. Harry Reid (D-NV) [Why isn't the "majority leader" a co-sponsor??]
8. Jim Webb (D-VA)
9. Mark Warner (D-VA)
You can find the sources of my information here.
Another nine have not made any indications, but are likely to support ENDA based on their track records, having co-sponsored other legislation that includes the language of sexual orientation and gender identity (except where noted). I am also including the newly-appointed Senator from Massachusetts, Paul G. Kirk, according to Bloomberg News, set to be announced this morning at 11 am by Governor Deval Patrick. That makes 58 votes.
1. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
2. Tom Carper (D-DE)
3. Ted Kaufman (D-DE)
4. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
5. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
6. Paul G. Kirk (D-MA)
7. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
8. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
9. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Where Will We Find Votes Number 59 and 60?
Here are the possibilities, some of which are longer shots than others.
1. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted for the hate crimes bill
2. Mark Pryor (D-AR) - voted for the hate crimes bill
3. Bill Nelson (D-FL) - he generally is favorable to LGBT issues, but privately indicated in July that he was undecided
4 - George Lemieux (R-FL) - recently appointed, and the South Florida Blade openly wondered whether he might support the bill
5. Richard Lugar (R-IN) - reported to be in favor, but privately indicated in July that he has concerns
6. Kent Conrad (D-ND) - voted for the hate crimes bill
7. George Voinovich (R-OH) - previously co-sponsored a bill with sexual orientation and gender identity language, and has been reported to be in favor, but his office indicated he was undecided in July
8. Robert Byrd (D-WV) -voted for but did not co-sponsor the hate crimes bill in 2002; has recently been precluded from voting due to health issues
(Technical Note: These Senators voted for the hate crimes bill in the sense that they voted for cloture on the Republican filibuster to allow it to be added as an amendment to the as-yet unpassed Defense Authorization Act.)
We have months to go before we come up against a vote in the Senate, and the numbers will probably change a lot between now and then. To my mind, the key thing is to work on the swing Senators now. It's very hard to reach and persuade a US Senator, if only because of the sheer volume of stuff that they get every day. That takes time, and can't be done in the week before the vote. Now is the time. Click here for contact info.