Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Where is ENDA?

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | March 01, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, employment non-discrimination, employment protections, ENDA, LGBT rights, scheduled for markup

We have been promised a markup and vote on ENDA in March. It's the first of March today. After the markup, it has to be scheduled on the House floor for a vote. Ideally, there will be some time for interest groups to make their feelings known. Thumbnail image for top secret.jpgSo why, when I call the House Committee on Education and Labor, do I keep getting the message that there is no date set or planned for a markup? I keep hearing that everything is held up in DC until health care passes. God alone knows when that will be. I thought this Administration was elected on the premise that we can do more than one thing at a time?

I have been pondering what is really going on here. After all, if it were simply a matter of the press of other business, why the secrecy about the new language of the bill? Why not schedule the markup, even if the scheduling is a couple of weeks down the road?

There is something else going on here, and I have my guesses.

If I were the cynical type, here's how the thought process would go. Fortunately, I'm not at all cynical, and I'm sure no one is thinking this way in that simple, straightforward town called Washington, D.C.

  1. There is something in this new language they're not going to like. If it's going to be painful, better to let the pain be as short as possible. Schedule the markup, say nothing about the new language, introduce it as an amendment, hope that it gets buried in other news, and get the bill on the floor. Like ripping off a bandaid - too much time to think about it is no good.
  2. The Senate is missing a few votes, and the political capital needed to move those votes has been expended on health care. Let the LGBTers lobby - that takes a lot of energy and should keep them busy. The truth is most Senators are on board with ENDA, but the few that are missing would require a lot of political muscle that is needed, to the extent that any is left, for the jobs bill. Let's not give this thing too much exposure time.
  3. Even if there were enough Senators on board to pass ENDA, the bill is going to be buried in the legislative logjam in the Senate, where 200 bills are waiting to go. Those bills have constituencies that a lot larger than the LGBT community, so ENDA is really not even going to get to the plate. If we make a big deal of this bill, then a lot of people will be disappointed when it doesn't even get to a vote. Let's soft-pedal this one.
  4. Let's rush ENDA in and out of the House so that we can show them we did something, but it was the failure of the LGBT community to lobby ENDA that caused the bill the fail. WE were ready...where were YOU, LGBT community???

That's where ENDA is.

Do we need to lobby for ENDA despite this? Yes, you're damn right we do. While there is definitely a percentage of the DC crowd who are thinking this way, this is by no means all or most of them.

We need to give the ones on our side a reason to sweep aside these nay-sayers. We need to feed the ones who are on our side, and starve the gloom-and-doomers.

Remember, take a plane, train or automobile to DC, and if you need assistance getting there -- read my last post on the subject.

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Jillian, I suspect that they are going to further eviscerate the bill beyond its indulgence to a ridiculous degree of right wing evangelical extremism.

Or, someone is going to get thrown under the bus again..

One of those two...

SarasNavel | March 1, 2010 5:12 PM

...Or both. Imagine a bill that gives some parts of the rainbow umbrella protections that they already mostly have due to privilege but limits the possibility for further advancement by the more undesirable factions.

That would make it just complicated enough to glaze listeners' eyes when someone tried to explain what went wrong.

Everybody (of import) wins!

I wouldn't be suprised if it says that evangelical christians are protected and GLBT's are not only under the bus but under the asphalt.

I also don't see this budging a single inch. They can't move because of the 'do-nothings' in congress wanting thier pockets filled and their chubby's rubbed the right way.

How long will people put up with this? The government is completely dysfunctional, and most people are getting mad about that. This is just one example of a deeper problem.

People are rioting in Athens over their financial crisis, but Americans are just protesting town halls set up to find a solution to part of the problem. I know I'm thread-jacking, but what's up with that?

OK, ENDA needs to be passed, and it seems like they're going to pass it at the last minute in the House and then let it die in the Senate before the midterms. How popular is this bill? I don't get it. Other countries don't function like this - popular bills that work get support from everyone.

It's simple Alex. 18 months ago we had 48 anti-LGBT US Senators - we still do. You can't lobby them to change their minds - it is a moral position they took to get elected and they wont change that until their constituents do.

We never had a chance in the US Senate, despite all the suggestions that we did. HRC and others make a living convincing us we can win if we just try harder, send more money and keep the faith. Until we demand accountability - for organizations and tactics - we'll keep playing that winless game.

I would not be at all surprised if it didnt happen this year at all.Remember these are the fine folks when they had a majority messed up even getting health care passed.Now the tides turned and yes time to be nice to Blue dogs and and the few remaining moderate Republicans just to get health care let alone a time bomb like EDNA.So look for it in 2011 if at all for the remander of the Presidnets first term.

Side bar look for the Moderates in the GOPs ranks to be even thinner as they move even more to the right.

Politics is a contact sport with no rules.

Absolute worst-case?

Protection for employment only on the basis of sexual orientation only. But no penalties provided if it happens, similar to the situation now in the Federal Government.

Explicit statements that none of the provisions of the Civil Rights Act 1964 apply to gender identity (overturning Schroer etc).

I would be absolutely astonished if this worst-case came to pass. I would be merely surprised if the trans-excluding ENDA (I think no other variety is likely now) gets a look in before the forthcoming November Massacre.

So what do we do? Sit on our hands and moan? No, we work as hard as we can anyway. The best-laid plans of mice and men - and political insiders - gang aft aglee, and we must shave the dice to make that a bit less unlikely.

What I'm hearing is a mysterious silence on ENDA, just when you'd expect it to be in the news. Meanwhile, there's been a lot of noise recently about DADT. Joe Solmonese also just delivered a speech in which he resoundingly trumpeted several priorities, including DADT as a kind of centerpiece, but barely mentioned ENDA.

This could mean that ENDA will be gutted or trans protections will be removed, but I see it as more indicative that ENDA won't pass at all. The administration, the dems in congress, and HRC all seem to be doing the same thing: using DADT as a distraction while they pull ENDA out from under us.

So yes, we've got to keep working. Part of that, I think, is to get progressive media to cover ENDA. You see a lot about DADT on the Huffington Post website, the Nation, MSNBC.com and the like, but where is ENDA? We're in a much stronger position if we expand our base of active support to include progressive non-LGBTs. (For that matter, the Advocate has barely mentioned ENDA lately.)

I've talked with several non-LGBT progressives and democratic workers recently, and a lot of them don't even seem to realize that ENDA is in real danger. They don't know that many of us live every day in fear of losing our jobs. They don't see the specifics that we're keenly aware of. Gosh, the dems are better than the republicans, aren't they? And if ENDA doesn't pass but DADT is repealed, that's still pretty good. It's better than a couple of years ago.

So, is anybody from around here going to be in DC 14-16 March?

Eric Payne | March 2, 2010 1:59 AM

When passed by the House two years ago, the ENDA bill was nothing but an election year stunt. Dems knew it would be vetoed by the then-President; if the Dems had really wanted the reforms of ENDS to become law, they would have attached to it a "non-vetoable" defense spending bill.

I commented at the time that ENDA, which was so important to Dems at the time (the last three months before the November election) would suddenly lose sight of its importance, if a Dem was elected President.

Sure enough... Our Fierce Advocate gets elected, and ENDA vanishes... but, wait, here it comes again (along with a DADTDP repeal) and - wow, isn't it amazing? - it's election time again! Wow... and we have to donate money to the DNC and Dem candidates, to make sure they keep the majority in the House so these bills can pass, because neither ENDA, nor DADTDP nor DOMA can be repealed without first undergoing extensive scrutiny and study, as well as Congressional and Senate hearings, which will take at least a year!

I let the DNC and Dem candidates fool me once. I was shamed.

Not this time.

Too bad the LGBTQ Community does not own thousands of tractors or have the money and numbers to keep Washington cloged for several days. I have a feeling it will take measures along those lines to moved this bill forward. As I said, there is no incentive for ENDA. It is a good thing to talk to the people who write checks about on both sides, those who wish it passed and those who do not. So why pass it? Just make it look like there is some movement from time to time, then allow it to die in committee or not make it to a vote before the session ends or something along that line. That way both sides can make their claims or apologies. The right side of the aisle to stand up and say how they stopped it, and the left side to point to the right side for stalling it to the point it was not voted on. All I can say is where is all this "change" that was supposed to have come with the Democrats in power? It just seems like business as usual in Washington to me. I am of the opinion that I doubt I will live long enough to see ENDA passed. Like it has been for the last 50 years if you want something done bring dump trucks filled with money.