You remember The Purple Tunnel of Doom from President Obama's Inauguration? Turns out some legislation is still waiting on that line.
Adam Bink of Open Left says there is more trouble for ENDA, as well as the rest of the gay legislative agenda, after Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, told members of the House recently that she's not going to make them consider any controversial bills unless the Senate passes them first.
She reportedly informed Democratic lawmakers that the Senate will have to move first on a host of controversial issues before she brings them to the House floor.
The problem, of course, is that the Senate is faced with a huge logjam of legislation, as reported on by the New York Times. That light at the end of the tunnel is not getting any closer. This is starting to look a lot like the Purple Tunnel of Doom on the way to Obama's inauguration.
From The Hill:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has privately told her politically vulnerable Democratic members that they will not vote on controversial bills in 2010 unless the Senate acts first.
After a year of bruising legislative victories that some political analysts believe have done more to jeopardize her majority than to entrench it, Pelosi is shifting gears for the 2010 election.
The Speaker recently assured her freshman lawmakers and other vulnerable members of her caucus that a vote on immigration reform is not looming despite a renewed push from the White House and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The House will not move on the issue until the upper chamber passes a bill, Pelosi told the members.
But according to Democrats who have spoken to Pelosi, the Speaker has expanded that promise beyond immigration, informing Democratic lawmakers that the Senate will have to move first on a host of controversial issues before she brings them to the House floor.
Adam says: "I also feel this further jeopardizes ENDA, the House markup of which has already been postponed into next year." He discusses the possible origins of this "After You, Senator" strategy, and suggests that it is not the best strategy for getting legislation passed, even though Representatives are frustrated with the glacial pace of the Senate. You can read Adam's analysis here.
I completely agree with Adam, and I see it as yet another one in a long line of Congressional failures to see ENDA as important enough to move when the moving's possible. Chairman Miller of the House Committee on Education and Labor, where ENDA is stalled, is a close friend of Speaker Pelosi. Yes, I understand they're busy. Yes, I understand the leadership is behind ENDA. But being behind it is different from putting it at the top of the list, and this looks to me like the beginnings of political cover for not sticking to the "ENDA-Moves-In-January" song we heard last month.
"I'm in favor of cleaning out my attic, but that doesn't mean I'm going to do it anytime soon. In fact, I've been committed to attic-cleaning from the very beginning, and I will continue to demand attic-cleaning until the day I die. Nothing is more important than attic-cleaning. Except, perhaps, this TV show. I will do it right after this TV show, absolutely. Trust me. Your raising the fact that I didn't do it the last sixteen years is very hurtful, as everyone knows that I couldn't do it because of that bush in the way. Nag, nag, nag. You never thank me for the things I've done. I took the garbage out last year, isn't that enough?"
A politician's job is to say the right thing. But saying the right thing and doing the right thing are different. They say a lot of different things, to a lot of different people. Are we seeing the beginnings of the old razzle-dazzle?
What we need now is action, not words. Enough words.