Representative Barney Frank said in MetroWeekly late yesterday that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be delayed until late June or mid-July.
He also indicated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is committed to getting a vote on ENDA in the House at some time in 2010.
The reason for the delay is a planned upcoming vote on repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Of course, the track record on scheduling pronouncements suggests that "mid-June or July" means July.
Despite Speaker Pelosi's stated commitment to having a vote on ENDA later in 2010, it is unclear how realistic that is.
It is also unclear whether that leaves any room for passage of the bill by the Senate. Congress is on recess in August. A July House vote would leave no time for Senate action before the midterm election season in September. The Senate is unlikely to take up ENDA during midterm elections because members are busy campaigning. They also are unlikely to want to vote on anything controversial unless it adds to the immediate bottom line in terms of constituent votes. ENDA would not add to the immediate bottom line in terms of constituent votes.
After the election, a "lame duck" Senate is even less likely to take up the bill, as very little of import usually gets done during the elections and the end of the session in December. At the end of the session, all pending legislation is voided.
A new ENDA bill could be introduced in 2011.
Thus, it now looks like a vote in the House, if takes place, would be purely symbolic, with no real chance of passage into law in this Congressional session.
Such a symbolic vote would be useful for future legislative sessions, however, because it would signify that an inclusive ENDA is the new benchmark for such legislation.