Bay Windows newspaper published an article yesterday noting that Capitol observers suggest that the Democrats are running out the clock on ENDA.
"The community and the movement have done everything we've been asked to do," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, this week...We've worked and worked and gotten sufficient votes to make sure gender identity stays in the bill," said Keisling, "but the bill is not being prioritized."
Let me say it more honestly than Ms. Keisling can, because she has to work with these duplicitous political types. This involves a technical term: The Democratic leadership is screwing us. If they can get away with it. This abstruse argot, with which some readers may not be familiar, can be explained by an analogy. Remember rentboy.com? We're the rentboy. And the check's in the mail.
If we call them on it, of course, they'll just huff and puff a bit and say they were coming to it, if we'd just give them a chance, don't we know there are more important things going on in Washington?
GetEqual, we need you! Thankfully, they've scheduled a May 18 protest and rally at Pelosi's SF office. Tell your SF friends.
More from Bay Windows:
Mara Keisling of NCTE wasn't the only Executive Director on the loose. Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said, "We have heard that the official whip is completed and that there are enough votes to pass ENDA in committee and in the House, which tells us that our vigorous lobbying and grassroots engagement efforts are being effective."
"Leadership needs to do the right thing, right now," said Carey, "and schedule a markup and pass an inclusive ENDA."
However, Barney Frank's office immediately went on the offensive and explained the whole thing away, making the executive directors look a bit silly and hapless. Through a spokesman, Frank had no new information this week about when a vote will happen. And then they slammed the phone down. (Remember the good old days, when one could slam the phone down? Now you'd just wind up with silicon breakfast cereal.)
According to Bay Windows, a senior Democratic aide said that Democratic leaders would likely be discussing timing next week and there should be "more clarity" on timing "by the end of this month."
End of the month? I thought they said end of April, after Easter recess? For that matter, I thought they said September of last year. It's obvious these politicians are trying to slink out of a vote, for themselves or for the Senate.
I can just hear them in the smoke-filled backroom now. "Let's go easy on this one, boys. Let's run the old 'you hold the money' trick. That's always a good one. Or if that doesn't work, the 'melon drop'. Those suckers never learn."
Meanwhile, according to Bay Windows, the remaining days in which the House can vote on anything are ticking away -- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's legislative calendar shows a total of 48 full days for voting and 14 part days before adjournment and mid-term elections.
So, asks Bay Windows, if the votes are there and a vote has been promised, why hasn't a vote happened yet?
People on the Hill who are close to the action offer several explanations, though none would do so with their name attached. One said Democratic leaders worry about a repeat of last week's debacle on a bill to encourage homeowners to adopt energy-saving measures. The bill passed the House 246 to 161 but not before Republicans attached provisions that could prevent it from being successful. One amendment requires that it cannot go into effect unless supporters can prove that it will not add to the deficit. Another amendment requires that contractors participating in the program ensure that they do not have any sexual predators among their employees.
Oooh, those pesky Repubwicans! The Democrats are chomping at the bit to get gay rights done, but can't because of the sneaky Republicans....yeah, that's the story.
"But Keisling said these types of efforts are simply part of the game in Congress and that she's 'extremely confident' the support is there to pass ENDA."
"It's just a question of getting prioritization" from Democratic leaders, said Keisling. "I know they're busy -- I get it. But apparently we're not being prioritized. ...The clock is running out."
Prioritization...how would we get that? Oh, I know, let's make more phone calls to be ignored by rude receptionists! No, wait....let's send emails. Oh, they have a delete button?
Hmmm....let's ask Kip Williams and Robin McGehee for some ideas, shall we?