Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

ENDA Delayed To Late June or Mid-July

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | May 21, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, ENDA

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.

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I remember....

Congressman Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions of the Education and Labor Committee, plans to hold hearings on ENDA in July.

“I am encouraged that we are going to be able to do this year what we were not able to do a couple years ago and that is to pass a fully inclusive bill,” said Congressman Frank. “I urge people to keep up lobbying. You can now take for granted that there will be a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives almost certainly this calendar year on a fully inclusive ENDA. At this point it is essential that everybody who cares about this lobbies his or her Representative and Senators. When you’re through with that, go to other people and get them to lobby their Representative and Senators because we have a President ready to sign it, and I think things are well inclined for this to happen.”

Of course that was June 2009 when he said that.

If you think there's a realistic possibility that there will be enough votes in 2011 to get it through the house.... or even up to a vote... well, I disagree. It's now or never. And that will take heroic measures.

We've been played. Now they either do things that are extraordinary, or we have to punish them so severely they never, ever contemplate doing this again.

I agree with everything you said, except for the last, Zoe. There is no realistic possibility of punishing anyone in Congress on this. They have the power, and we do not. It is as simple as that. The gay community will get DADT repeal, and they will be satisfied with that. The trans community is vanishingly small, and spread throughout the country. We will just have to accept this.

SkepticalCidada | May 21, 2010 2:13 PM

No we will NOT be happy with DADT repeal, and in any event, it won't happen this year either.

Oh, I think we can.

I'm one person. A furriner. On the other side of the world. No political pull or influence, no money, no contacts.

But I've had concrete evidence that I've made a difference in a few places. It's likely there's been more, but I can't prove that.

One person, by writing letters to the editor, by commenting online, can shape public opinion. That translates into votes. With the US electoral system, even 100 votes can make a difference in some contests.

There are enough disenchanted GLBT people to really cause political pain to the Dems. If they are mobilised. Many currently are planning to stay home. But if they are angry enough to vote for opponents, they count double.

If angry enough to call on others to do the same, triple or quadruple, or even more.

Imagine if Pelosi suffered a 30% drop in her vote. We could do that. Make a case to the GLBT people in her electorate. Same with Barney. What they're doing is trying to obfuscate and confuse so they can claim it wasn't their fault. That will work to some extent - but even then, we can hurt them. And we can toss out many vulnerable Blue Dogs, who aren't even GOP-light, on social issues they're GOP-heavy.

It's all so hauntingly familiar, isn't it? Just yet another setup to protect Democrats from having to act like real leaders.

Personally, I'm waiting to hear "Oh gee sorry, but there's just not enough time left to protect your right to work. But don't worry, we'll get to you right after the election, really we will."

As I've said, I think if it does get introduced it will pass the House. I'm now also coming to believe that this delay is really about ensuring that the Senate will not have time to take up the bill this session and it will die, thus protecting Democrats from having to defend their positions on the campaign trail.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but...

kori mika | May 21, 2010 11:37 AM

Thank you Dr. Weiss for being our conduit to this very important legislation. It seems that the Dems really do want to lose their majority so that they will be off the hook so to speak. It's terrible that the Dems finally get the power to make change and then don't know what to do with it. I won't be voting Dem for some time to come if this doesn't pass both houses this year. And they can take that to the bank!

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi has privately told her politically vulnerable Democratic members that they will not vote on controversial bills in 2010 unless the Senate acts first."

December, 2009 - The Hill


She promised her fellow politicians. They are more important than we are.

While it is difficult to find any "promises" that are actually kept - the ones they make to each other are the most reliable. Kind of an "honor among thieves" thing.

Jillian please allow me to translate what Frenemy Frank just said.

"the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be delayed until late June or mid-July" = If you idiots think this is ever coming to a vote in this session of Congress you are more dense than a brick.

"He also indicated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is committed to getting a vote on ENDA in the House at some time in 2010" = Fat chance of this making it anywhere in any year as long as I am Speaker of the House.

Now that is how you translate politico-speak. It is like a code and the encryption is really rather simple. The words mean nothing. You have to watch the facial expressions and the inflection in the voices. They would both rather be talking about the oil slick in the gulf but they know that no one is under any illusions about their ability to fix that sticky problem.

You know, it'd almost be worth getting frozen out of policy for a year or three to actually make these reps pay for the shell game they perpetrated. They're not going to respect our position if they know that we'll still contribute to their campaigns, push their platform, and generally respond with "yessir"s and "can we please have it next year?"s.

A few months ago on Bilerico I wrote, jokingly, that GOProud's inclusion in the CPAC conference marked one of the most major turning points in the culture war as it stands today. I'm beginning to wonder if our Next Big Step is increasing choice - right now, it's either the abusive Dems or the virulently anti-gay Repubs, but the image of the latter is starting to show cracks on the surface.

But at this point, with all the shell games and delays and the "let's pretend" advocacy of political powers that be, I think we're about to be frozen out. Again. And, same as last year, I think we're not going to punish the inaction harshly enough.

The problem is you can't "punish" them.

Our influence ends with each election. Our only recourse is at the next election OR changing the minds of their constituents.

my mid term election votes, will be delayed till December, January at the latest or maybe February.

your better yet, don't expect it at all.

looking at green party.

If the goal as the democrats say is to do dadt along with the authorization bill, a trick which would have to be done this month or not at all, and then use the momentum to move on to ENDA, well, that sounds to me like a pretty good plan. The problem is it's also like the sixth or seventh plan I've heard. So is this one for real?

The next congressional session, the June-July Frank talks about, is probably going to be totally consumed by either the energy bill or the immigration bill, whichever Harry Reid decides to take on first. The last we heard that was going to be the energy bill. If the immigration bill goes first then the House may be kind of busy, because it's been holding off work on immigration until the Senate starts moving. But if the Senate goes with energy, as seems to be the plan, then the House will have a lot of free time since it's already passed that bill. In this scenario Frank's timeline, June-July, sounds extremely plausible. But it also leaves very little room for error and the democrats' past history on this gives no particular reason to be confident they can hit that window whether they have free time or not...

Dr. Weiss's insistence from last November that last November really was the only convenient time to do this is looking more and more prescient with time.

I am not holding my breath on enda being passed anytime soon.We are being thrown under the bus for the illegals they are the Democrats sweethearts now.I would be even willing to bet that illegal immigration gets taken up before dadt gets repealed.I see this as a major problem since I don't particularly care to wind up having less rights than someone who violated our laws and also violated our national security.Come November if dadt isn't repealed and enda hasn't passed I won't be voting Democrat will you?

ENDA will be brought to vote after the DADT repeal vote... On December 31st, around 11:59pm. But I no longer think anyone in congress really cares for anything other than thier job as a congressman and they're willing to do anything to keep thier job.

hmmm This dose not surprise me at all instead of the T getting the boot this time its the whole bill good job Braney.

Yes I will be voting Democrate and holding my nose as the Tea Party has basicly hijacked the Republicans so nope no votes for Tea Party RINO's from me.

erleclaire | May 21, 2010 10:52 PM

The issue is how to write the language to remove the "T" with out sounding like it is excluded. Don't ask don't tell, opens a liability door to the "T" issue and it is billions in medical if the "T" is recognized.....

Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | May 22, 2010 1:01 AM

I read some of these comments and I truly wonder why I spend several hours each day working to get ENDA moving and so many people have nothing better than to complain and appear do nothing to help themselves.

The problem is that there are enough votes right now for an inclusive ENDA to pass, BUT they do not as yet feel they have enough votes to defeat a republican "motion to recommit" (MTR) that will strip it or effectively "kill it". As i mentioned in my blog a couple of weeks ago , all the Republicans voted to kill the inclusive Hate crimes bill last year and after enough Democrats defeated the MTR, 44 Republicans came back to vote for the bill.

Right now Barney and the beltway folks are trying to get Republicans and some at risk Democrats to commit to defeat an unknown Boehner led MTR. it is not easy, but it CAN be done if everyone chips in and calls and writes their Representative.

This week I got commitments form 3 Reps, one from NJ and one from NY with the help of a friend of his (a savvy transwoman) the other with the help of some great folks gay and transpeople in Oregon, so it can be done. In my state of NJ, all the Dems are on board... we are still trying to get the following Republicans, sponsor Leonard Lance, Frank Lobiondo and Rodney Frelinghuysen.

In talking to some folks they won't commit to something they have not seen, which presents a "catch-22" in that we don't want the religious fascists to have time to see the language and distort it wide and far.

House Republicans use the MTR to say, "No, No, No!"

We have to find a way to say, "Yes, yes, yes!"

So who is volunteering to help? Yes, damn it, it never seems to end!

Unconformed rumour department - this one even more "iffy" than the usual. But it fits.

OK, Barney's put in a few more words to make sure people like him aren't made uncomfortable by pre-op "trannies" in the restroom. And it applies to post-ops too. Unisex or special restrooms are deemed acceptable for them, no right to use the correct restroom, but can't be forced to use the incorrect one. This is emphatically not because of any danger, it's about comfort levels for the "majority". Including Barney.

Except... the sneaky motion to re-commit extends that logic, and will apply the same restrictions to ALL GLBT. Because the "majority" aren't comfortable with sharing restrooms with Homos either. And if the restrictions aren't unfair for Trans people, they're not unfair for Gays.

You can't argue against that logic. Worse, even if Trans people are dumped, as is planned, the fact that this issue is on the table means it will be applied anyway. By raising the "restroom issue" at all, the Dems have left themselves open. Thank-you Barney.

Oh yes, other provisions overturn Price-Waterhouse once and for all too. Schroer too, effectively.

So - a trans-free ENDA with bathroom restrictions for Homos, or no ENDA at all. That's what Pelosi fears when she talks about motions to re-commit.


Jill, my nearly decade-long friend. (and for other people who might read this, I am NOT the person who talked to Jill about a deep end. I would find that comment disrespectful, and I like my friend Jill. She'd confirm that I didn't say that to her, that I only said that there's no delay on ENDA in the House.)

First, I'm taking a break from quiet reflection this afternoon usually dedicated to pray for Veterans including my Dad, who I lost 9 years ago on this very day, Nov. 11. I'm breaking to write to you and respond to your post to share what I know is true.

Shortest response: Calm down; listen up.

Shorter response: Keep working; don't worry. ENDA is not being displaced; FEDP is strategically near-located to it and has been since it was completed.

Short response: Maybe you didn't have months-old information, but I promise that leading DC advocate organizations with lobbyists and office-visitors did. Hence, the advice you're getting -- because you're surprised doesn't make it a surprise.

Little longer: Stay vigilant on your 'Legis of the Day' project, but don't mistake what might be new to your ears as 'new.' We've been touting and co-discussing Congresswoman Baldwin's important FEDP bill with ENDA since it was laid out for co-sponsors. And Federal Employees are not just in DC. They are across the US and probably in its territories.

Even more: Please keep telling people to focus on their state's US Senators, and on their district's US Rep. in the House, but mostly, as we working on the bill have said, the Senate.

Whoever the 'insider' is (and I am not curious about who it is), they are not inside the conversations on the bills if they're arming you with information that left out the critical role we've held for the FEDP bill (as soon as it was completed) alongside ENDA and the timing sequence and bill relationships. They're just not in the room or on the phone line, clearly.

Even my Twitter and Facebook entries will back up mentioning both. I think that you can check them. It's no surprise, and Googling for stories with Congressman Frank talking about bill sequence and topics will bear that out, too.

My Tweets and FB updates followed exactly what Reps. Baldwin and Frank planned, along with Rep. Polis as Co-Chairs of the LGBT Equality Caucus. Our staff briefings back that up. It's no surprise that work to secure votes for those two LGBT civil rights bills is unified. At least it's no surprise to we who are working these bills, inside of Congress and in the lead organizations at our side, also working to secure support for our rights.

I don't work in the Senate, but we have had joint ENDA Member and staff AND Member/Staff/Advocate meetings with House and Senate together. I've never been told to plan for or expect a Senate vote in Jan or Feb. It's always been expected to be later next year.

Congressman Frank addressed the National Gay & Lesbian (GLBT) Chamber of Commerce's LGBT Business Leaders & Allies Reception on Thurs. Nov. 5 and the Maryland GLBT Chamber of Commerce's inaugural breakfast on Tues. Nov. 10 (yesterday) and repeated the same sequencing that he has in news reports of past months. I said the same thing on Nov. 5 to the NGLCC's Executive Committee when I briefed them on the sequencing of bills. It's what my colleagues and our bosses have said to anyone who asks us the question.

Congressman Frank told a reporter that he expects a vote in the House on ENDA no later than Feb., and it means just that -- no later than. As soon as healthcare reform was deemed to be consolidated into a lump bill per chamber, he said then that it would come first. It did. He said that ENDA and FEDP would be next. They are.

Even with healthcare reform on the front burner (and I am the staffer for both healthcare and ENDA), we held a great House hearing followed by a great Senate hearing. Both were successful, productive and done.

The House hearing had to wait for that incredible study by The WIlliams Institute to be completed. The Senate hearing had to follow the one in the House. The Williams Institute data documented discrimination and was used in oral and written testimony in both the House and Senate hearings. It added strength.

Next is the House markup for H.R. 3017 (ENDA). It's coming soon, as promised. Since healthcare surfaced, our leading Members have said it would occur in late November or early December. We're not at either of those calendar markers yet. It's coming soon, as of this very moment.

Diego | November 11, 2009 3:30 PM


I'm listening, but I'm also reading between the lines.

Diego, from the outside, it seems as if we've seen this pattern before.

Assuming that Trans are stripped out again; and it never gets passed in the Senate; again; and the Dems take a clubbing in the mid-terms, so passage for the rest of the presidential term is impossible; again....

Just assuming... what would you do? I man, personally? Knowing that you've been led up the garden path by experts at it?

Heck, I'm Australian, and we've had ENDA-like protections for years now, but "calm" is something I'm not.

I lost one friend to suicide after 2007, when she lost her livelihood, and then lost hope with the ENDA debacle.

There's no others I know this year who are vulnerable, but they exist. You know we're talking life-or-death here for some Trans people.

Zoe Brain | November 12, 2009 12:26 AM

The Internet is merciless. It preserves all that we've said, for good or ill. Any predictions we make can leave us with egg on our faces if we're wrong.

I think it would be a good idea to go through the Billerico archives, with comments, and see just how good predictions from various parties have been. Make an article about it. A public record of all the lies we've been fed.

Then use this to make sure that GLBT people don't stay at home come November. Those who have played straight with us, we support with redoubled efforts. Those who have not, we don't just withdraw support, we give it to their opponents, and encourage their other supporters to sit this one out.

They keep swapping DADT and ENDA around as to which they claim to plan to work on and then don't do anything with either. I know they have proved their point to me, that I mean nothing at all to the powers at be in Washington. I see no more point in wasting my time and energy on passage of it.

I disagree: we need to redouble efforts, to give the best chance for "heroic measures" to be taken.

It's a long shot. But it's the only game in town now, they've run out the clock for anything else.

Harold Wilson famously said "A week is a long time in politics." Passage of ENDA through normal means is now impossible. They've made sure of that.

But passage through abnormal means - as has been done for several pieces of legislation - is not. It's painful for them. We just need to make sure that it's more painful not to.