Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

The ENDA Whip Count

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | April 27, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, Tammy Baldwin, whip count

Two232.jpg weeks ago, Congress resumed its session after the Easter break, and a whip count began to determine whether there are enough votes for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

We need 216 votes to pass the bill (at least until some of the current vacancies are filled).

Speaker Pelosi's office has long claimed that no whip count can take place until the bill is marked up, and the bill's language is finalized.

But we're taking a whip count anyway, and I hear that Rep. Tammy Baldwin is taking the lead on this process.

This whip count is obviously crucial, because if there are not enough votes found for ENDA, it will never see the light of day.

So with no further ado, with no more hints and dog whistles, without delays or ambiguities, here are the preliminary results of the whip count.

I could tell you. But then I'd have to killya, as the old joke goes.

In fact, I can't tell you, because I don't know. It is a big secret.

Why it's a big secret is another question entirely.

Contest! Prizes!

So I'll give you my guess as to what the number will be. We could have a pool. Whoever comes closest to the actual number of House votes when ENDA is voted on wins a prize. Put your guess in the comments to this post (without going over) by midnight tonight. (I used to use this trick with my son when he was little. "What prize?" he would ask excitedly. "It's a secret," I would say solemnly, since I had no prize in mind, "but trust me, you'll like it." Since he was about 4 years old, he wasn't hard to please, so I usually wound up telling the truth. Hope you're not too picky.) One entry per person. First one counts.

While there has been no communication with the community about how this whip count is going, there are leaks to the press. Yesterday, an article appeared in Roll Call, a top Capitol Hill newspaper, suggesting that Republicans were bailing on ENDA. I couldn't read the article, because it was in a subscription-only section of the paper. (Only $500 if you act now!)

My initial thought was that, since there were only three or four Republicans on the bill to begin with, the loss couldn't be very significant. The Family Research Council came out with an article late yesterday discussing the Roll Call article, and said that Representatives Biggert, Ryan (CA) and Campbell (WI) expressed reservations.

Biggert is a loss, as she was a co-sponsor, but Ryan and Campbell were never on my list as yeses, though they voted in favor of ENDA in 2007. But their votes against the hate crimes bill made it obvious that they were not going to be in favor of an inclusive ENDA. Thus, I don't really see much slippage from Republicans on ENDA. So I'm taking my likely yeses down from 224 to 223.

In fact, there's been progress since March 31, when I wrote a blog post on the 27 uncommitted members of the House. At that time, we had 198 co-sponsors and 221 likely yes votes. We're down to 24 uncommitted now, with 202 co-sponsors and 223 likely yes votes.

But we'll wind up with more than 223. I think we'll get about half of those uncommitted votes: 12 to be exact. And my guess is that we'll lose the three other Republicans now listed as likely yeses. So my number for the pool is 232.

Now if you're a really smart cookie, you'll make your guess as to the whip count in the comments below, and then call your Representative (202-224-3121) to make sure the numbers come out your way.

Oh, and there was another article in Roll Call yesterday about ENDA, this time by the estimable Lisa Mottet of the Task Force. It's worth a read. Good for Roll Call. They're really trying to cover both sides of the issue.

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233 is my projection of "for" votes in the house.
61 is what I project for the Senate.

Here are a couple of links to spreadsheets that list each member of congress on this issue. I have no idea how accurate they are but I have found them useful.




Those are Dr. Weiss' spreadsheets.

Am I to understand you missed the nuance? Now who's the Ditz?

NO! It's a typo. I meant "229." Don't hate me because I can't type.

Renee Thomas | April 27, 2010 10:19 AM


Jeeze Monica!? :>)


219. I'm assuming your analysis is excellent (as always), but that a couple folks who might've voted for it to pass it will duck out at the last minute for political cover. This is mostly a wild guess, of course. ;)

SkepticalCidada | April 27, 2010 10:58 AM

But none of this matters, Jillian, unless ENDA is attached to a must-pass spending bill, because the votes don't exist in the Senate. Even if the House manages to pass a standalone bill, that gets us nothing.

There has been some consistent naivete in these discussions. Does no one recognize that members of Congress misrepresent their future intentions about voting? Does no one remember those supposed majorities in the House and Senate for the public option in the health care bill? Those were posturing majorities, based on affirmative statements given to activist groups to avoid a confrontation. But notice how Senators, in particular, never actually faced a vote at which they would've had to put up or shut up.

Just because you find a campaign statement in favor of ENDA doesn't mean the vote will materialize. Just because a member tells a group that he or she will support the bill doesn't mean hr or she won't have an "epiphany" if a vote is actually scheduled. There is also a big difference between getting a commitment to vote "yes" when a member thinks a vote won't ever be held or when a member thinks the bill won't ever make to the president's desk for signature.

What we need is a whip count on attaching ENDA to a must-past spending bill and with an impending vote scheduled. Anything less will include some meaningless posturing by manipulative members.

I think you're making a mistake on the attachment to a must-pass bill. The purpose of that is simply to avoid poison-pill amendments. 60 votes are still needed, because there can be a motion to strip out the ENDA provisions, and only 51 are needed for that.

I think there will be enough votes in the Senate. We have 55 right now, and 9 possibles. Once President Obama comes riding in on his white horse, to persuade the last hold-out Senators and blow kisses to the gays, we will all be sitting pretty.

Kathy Padilla | April 27, 2010 2:10 PM

Not that I want or expect ENDA to die in the Senate once the full court press is brought there after it passes the House - but I do seem to recall many making the argument that there was value to passing the non-inclusive version in the House alone back in 2007 - even if it never passed the Senate nor was signed by the then President.

To get legislators firmly delineated as either on the bus or off the bus for targeting future efforts (electoral and advocacy), to get them used to voting for the bill (and this time for an inclusive bill), to show the Bill can pass to leadership and the general public. It would do much to address some distracting internal community debates as well.

And nothing is going to shake out in the Senate until the House bill passes - no work on attaching the bill to the budget etc. They won't move till the House does something, like so many other bills. So - provide them with the necessary pre-conditions to take action. Then - full court press. My guys in the Senate are on board.


And my calling will have no effect. Rep Tom Price of GA, ex medical doctor and should be excongressional representative for House and never for Senate.

Sadly, Tom Price is my bigoted Rep.

If we count the votes in the House enough times (while congratulating ourselves) the votes in the Senate will change?

ENDA is still DOA in the Senate. Like Solmonese said "we need six Senators to change their minds/votes." He didn't recommend repeatedly counting the House Members. The problem in the House is the Speaker and the Mid-term elections. Because of that, she said "no controversial votes before November."

No, Andrew, ENDA is not DOA in the Senate.

As I've pointed out numerous times, we have 55 likely yes votes, and 9 possibles.

As I noted above in a previous comment, when President Obama comes in on his winged chariot to the Senate Chamber, spreading sunlight and rainbows, those last 5 votes will fall right into place.

As far as "no more controversial votes", that's old news which ain't the case no more, now that the Democrats are turning to immigration reform. They're putting together their base for November, and we're a part of that, even if we're their dirty little secret.

And here we are on April 27 with nary a peep from the house committee chairman. Is the silence a reprimand for the recent disturbance? Something smells in Denmark. Well OK not Denmark but in the House. It is like something died in the closet and nobody wants to open the door to extricate the rotten carcass.

Andrew I believe you are mistaken. He was talking about for DADT not ENDA. Isn't that true Jillian?

I'm not sure, Rann. This was in Michelangelo Signorile's Town Hall. At first I thought I heard Joe say his six Senators were on ENDA, but then when he mentioned them, they were on DADT. He didn't mention ENDA Senators.

We need those "six Senators" for anything LGBT-related. At best we have only 54 votes in the Senate and even that isn't certain.

So, an important question to ask is why bother in the House if we can't pass anything in the Senate? Nancy Pelosi answered that question by saying She wouldn't have "any controversial votes in the House." Pelosi is trying to preserve a Democratic Majority. What are we trying to preserve or prove by having that vote?

Laura Hart | April 27, 2010 2:56 PM

In the article you had published in Roll Call, I think you said Media Matters had debunked the Washington Times editorial (or maybe it was TVC article). Could you provide a link? I'm searching the Media Matters web page and can't find one on this subject.

House - 241
Senate - 0 (won't be allowed to come to a vote this year)

Amy Hunter Amy Hunter | April 28, 2010 5:27 AM

A BIG pitch for Lisa Mottet (Thanks for the link Jillian)I would argue that this woman is esteemed and most probably INestimable. I say this out of experience. Lisa helped immensely when re-drafting Kalamazoo, MI's non-discrimination ordinance. She suggested and vetted language (along with Mara Kiesling)and generally held my hand patiently while I did shuttle diplomacy between the city commission and Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality.
Lisa leaves out one salient point in her Roll Call discussion of ENDA. Lisa states: "Americans support nondiscrimination in the workplace, including ENDA..." The point I think is all too often missed is one that became glaring in Kalamazoo; while support in the general population for gay and transgender equality is overwhelming, a disproportionate number of those in support do not understand that we do not have protections--in the workplace, in housing and in access to public accomodations. The broader population assumes that we already enjoy the same rights that they do.

If they let it out to see the light of day which in my opinion is still very questionable, and have a vote on it in the house, I will say 229. just because I figure a few will wimp out at the last minute or as they put it be unavailable for the vote. I doubt it will see the Senate. It could be passed if they wanted to make it happen but I really doubt they wish to do so. If it does not happen this session of congress, forget about it for another several years. It might get introduced again and again but it will suffer a slow convoluted death during the sessions when the Republicans control the house and senate. As for me, I have called, written, and badgered those I can as much as I dare. I am sure I am close to being thrown on the list of those who they just ignore anyway particularly in the case of my Congressman who is not going to vote for it regardless of what I do. (unless some one has some compromising photos of him I can barrow) I am guessing there is no point in my bothering my Senators as they both are co-sponsors on ENDA already apparently.

No "mark-up" and no vote. Review after mid-terms.

SkepticalCidada | April 29, 2010 12:26 PM

You can forget it after mid-terms, given the massive losses the Dems are headed toward.

You should worry less about protecting Democratic incumbents and more about enacting our legislation.

This November it will feel like Bill Clinton-1994 all over again. It makes you wonder why we put so much into politics instead of actually creating our equality.

There is no political solution to LGBT Equality. Maybe this Fall we'll realize that and get to work changing minds. We can't change votes (politics) until we change minds. We've put it off for decades. Maybe this time we'll learn.