Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Message to Senate: ENDA Is A Jobs Bill

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | April 04, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: bikini graph, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, jobs, Rachel Maddow

On Friday's Rachel Maddow show, Ezra Klein of the Thumbnail image for bikini graph.jpgWashington Post came on to talk about the fact that the Democrats have been doing a bang-up job of creating jobs.

The Bush administration hemorrhaged over 3 million jobs, whereas the Obama administration has been applying some special Democrat Preparation H that has totally shrunk the job loss each month of 2009 and 2010 to a smaller and smaller amount. This has been so successful that the US is now gaining jobs (162,000 last month), and it is believed and hoped and that job creation will continue to grow each month as well. This bodes well for the midterms, but I want to talk about something entirely different that Ezra Klein discussed: the Senate jobs bills.

Mr. Klein spoke about the surprise that many Democrats had when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to put through the ginormous jobs bill passed by the House in the Fall. It was well-known that the bill had some Republican support, even though it was opposed by most Republicans, and the thinking was that he could push it through.

But he didn't. Mr. Reid sat on the bill for a while. Many people wondered why he would sit on the bill when The Economy is obviously going to be the number one issue in the November midterm elections. Then, Majority Leader Reid announced that he was going to break the ginormous bill into little bitty bills.

The Senate has been passing these jobs bills every week, apparently, while the news media concentrated on other stories, giving the impression that the Senate was doing not much of anything. In fact, looks like they are going to be pretty much nothing but jobs, jobs, jobs! until November.

And, that's very, very good for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which -- surprise, surprise -- turns out to be, guess what?! A bill designed to protect jobs from discrimination.

I think they call that flying under the radar.

ENDA, which has been called dead, lo, these many months while DADT repeal was on everyone's lips, has been doing much the same thing. And it's a lucky thing, too, because right-wing attention has been totally diverted from ENDA. The noise from ENDA opponents has been relatively quiet, even if steady, because it looked like ENDA was dead.

Well, ENDA was just playing possum, it turns out, and has jumped up with a major bounce. And, surprise, surprise, it's going to a quick markup and vote in the House this month, where it is expected to pass, and then off to the Senate.

The Senate's been looking pretty bad for ENDA, because 5 votes are missing from the 60 needed to end a filibuster. But guess what -- turns out the Senate wants to do nothing but jobs bills from now on. Not so lucky for DADT repeal, or federal worker Domestic Partnership benefits, but maybe very lucky for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which, it turns out, is a bill designed to protect jobs from discriminatory behavior. It's a jobs bill. I don't think Senator Reid will have to work very hard to find some nice other non-filibuster-able jobs bill to attach it to.

Week by week by week by week they are now putting through more of these jobs bills," said Mr. Klein on Rachel Maddow's show....And they're actually getting Republicans on them, Scott Brown included.

These folks are looking at these jobs bills and saying 'I can't filibuster that." So you're breaking the filibusters and you're getting them through.

They're going to have message legislation going right through to November, every week they're going to be messaging on jobs...people are also going to see Democrats passing this legislation -- state and local aid, investment in infrastructure -- and that will go on for months now, and that will be the way they push this message.

These bills won't be the ones that create jobs now, they'll be the ones creating jobs next year, but it'll further the sense that the Democrats are on top of their game on this one. (emphasis added)

Yes, the Senate is going to be more difficult than the House on ENDA. But not impossible because ENDA is a jobs bill and that is the Senate messaging now through November.

That's right in line with the messaging we heard from Rep. Jared Polis's lips late last week. You know he didn't just make that up on the spur of the moment, right? You know he got that messaging from the leadership, yes?

In terms of tying it into a jobs message - it's certainly about security about jobs, about a society that's free from discrimination. Of course, many states already have inclusive ENDA. California has an inclusive ENDA, I believe and so does Colorado, by the way - my state. So it won't make a difference, per se, in those states. But in areas of the country where gays and lesbians face the most discrimination, it will make a big difference.

-- Rep. Jared Polis, in an interview late last week

Message to Senate: ENDA is a JOBS bill.

Message to LGBT community: ENDA is alive and well and living quietly in Washington, DC.

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One shares your eagerness to see ENDA passed, but regrets that you apparently don't see DADT repeal as NO less a JOBS bill.


Yes, the numbers of employees affected isn't as large as those involved in all the civilian businesses combined, but it's a jobs bill all the same. And both can also be seen as ECONOMY bills. Someone employed, in the civilian sector or by the government, is putting money, through payroll taxes and consumer spending, INTO the economy rather than taking from it in the form of unemployment or "public assistance" payment.

But the HUGE difference is that, while most employees in civilian corporations come to them already trained at someone else's expense via generalized college educations, or business schools, trade schools, law school, etc., and when training is needed in smaller, simpler businesses it's funded by the owner's money, the military trains virtually all of its employees and with tax dollars.

And, thus, when they discharge a gay person, not only do taxpayers lose what has been invested in recruiting and training that person, they pay for the investigation to verify the person is gay, costs to process them out, etc.

Then taxpayers pay to recruit and train that gay person's replacement the same skills they'd already paid to train the gay dischargee. In the case of pilot Victor Fehrenbach alone that has been estimated to equate to TWICE $25 million.

And the proportion of those gays who are sent to unemployment lines with greater difficulty in finding another job is higher than among civilian LGBTs because the work they did in the military is not easily transferable to the civilian work force.

It's really unfortunate that ENDA and lifting the ban haven't been promoted over all these years as both "jobs" and "economy" bills. Non-LGBT voters would, then, have motivation to become engaged in urging their passage.

And the great irony, which advocates have also failed to advertise is that some other countries with no bans on gays in the military have hired, for example, pilots to work for them that U.S. tax dollars paid to train then kicked to the curb.

American taxpayers paid to train former Air Force lesbian linguist Michelle Moore who got caught in an investigation of chat rooms. While others involved were fired under DADT, her punishment amounted to snuffing out her promotion opportunites, so, when her term was up she, like approximately 4000 other gays each year chose not to reenlist [requiring millions of tax dollars to replace them, too].

What's she doing now? Taxpayers are paying her as a CIVILIAN Dari/Farsi translator.


Imagine that. Some staffer in the senate must have checked an online thesaurus and discovered "employment" listed under "jobs".

I've always wondered why the community wasn't pushing hard for ENDA based on the "it's a jobs bill" line of thought. It's about damned time Congress led us by the nose and helped us out. Bah. Why hasn't our leadership been shouting this from the rooftops for months?

Yeah it's a jobs bill. This would be a great way to get it passed, if that's what the dems want to do.

OMG! Maybe there is real hope after all. This is GREAT news!