Jill summarized Pelosi's transparent attempt to stall on ENDA this morning:
First, she said that taking a vote on ENDA and DADT in the same week is impossible from a scheduling standpoint. An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to repeal DADT will be proposed next week. So that puts ENDA into June. And not the first week of June, either, as the House has a week off for Memorial Day. And of course, no markup has been scheduled on ENDA, and the notice period for that usually takes up a week. So we're looking at mid-June. What does that do to the possibility of the Senate having enough time to take it up before the August recess?
Oh, and there's more
Pelosi said she thought ENDA would have a much better likelihood of passing if DADT repeal were successfully ushered through first.
If you liked that, you're going to love what Rep. Skelton, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, had to say about when that DADT vote is going to happen:
The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee began Wednesday's consideration of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act by saying there would be no debate of "don't ask, don't tell" repeal during the committee's markup.
"You won't find any mention of the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,'" Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri said of the draft language for the bill, adding that he and the ranking Republican member of the committee had an agreement not to address the gay ban in committee. "Mr. [Buck] McKeon and I have spoken about this, we have agreed to support Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates' request for time to study the issue, and we do not support this issue being raised in this markup."
Repeal advocates have never viewed the House Armed Services Committee as a good avenue for adding repeal to the Defense funding bill. The committee is seen as leaning conservative and Chairman Skelton has consistently said he does not support repealing the policy this year.
So DADT repeal when the Pentagon gets done with their study (set to finish, by pure coincidence, just after the midterms). Then we can start talking about ENDA.
At this point there shouldn't be any doubt that Congressional leadership simply doesn't want to pass these two bill. Maybe they're worried about losing the already-Republican 10-40% of the vote that opposes these basic measures. Maybe they don't want to do anything that won't interest the majority of Americans.
Or maybe the leadership is full of homophobes. That'd something like the Bradley Effect, where they don't want to be perceived as homophobes so they say what they need to say in public, but behind closed doors vote what they actually believe.
Otherwise, I'm out of ideas. But this is pretty much the game the Democrats have been running since last year, putting off the ENDA vote for a couple weeks and then a month and then maybe another week. Each time it's a different person with a different excuse. Meanwhile, LGBT people are still losing their jobs with no recourse.
Over at one of my old haunts, the big orange forest, straight progressive activists are debating whether we should be criticizing Democrats or clapping louder to keep them from losing too many seats in 2010.
If the Democrats do lose seats (and they most likely will, since this is a midterm and they have the White House), they will interpret that loss as a sign that they need to move further to the right, that Real Americans are just fed up with all this Socialism. It'll be their excuse not to do anything.
If they do, somehow, gain seats, they'll need to protect their majorities in the 2012 election. The only thing they'll have been shown by this session is that they don't really have to do much to benefit anyone to stay in office, much less LGBT people.
Either way, it's not going to be good for us, and we'll be less likely to participate in the political process. Which works out well for them, since they'd rather we shut up.