ENDA: The slog continues; it’s a sure thing “within five years”

by on July 2, 2010  •  In Congress, ENDA

A member of Congress from the San Francisco area told Bay Area Reporter that, "being realistic," the time frame for enacting ENDA could be five years:

Congresswoman Jackie Speier put a damper on hopes for swift House passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, telling the Bay Area Reporter over the weekend that she doesn't see the LGBT workplace protections becoming law anytime soon.

Addressing the crowd of gay and straight political and community leaders at Sunday's Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Pride breakfast, Speier said, "Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi is doing all she can to ensure a majority for next year so we can pass ENDA." Asked later in a brief interview if that meant the House would not vote on ENDA this year, Speier told the B.A.R., "The rest of the year is in question."

"There's no question 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will be history this year," she said. "ENDA, we will have that law for sure within the next five years." "I'm being realistic," she said.

With Congress leaving Washington, D.C. for its Fourth of July recess, and the summer recess in August, there's not much time left before members head out on the campaign trail in the fall ahead of the November midterm elections. Speier also said that right now there are 290 bills in the Senate awaiting action that the House has already passed. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said Monday that the number was now over 300 bills.

"A lot depends on the Senate," Speier said.

According to Lisa Keen's report, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes echoed the theme that ENDA is in limbo until the votes are there in the Senate in her meeting with lgbt leaders and journalists. Unfortunately, she also signaled that the President wouldn't be spending any fierce advocate chips on pressing the Senate to move forward:

“We look to the Senate leadership to also say to us, ‘These are issues we are prepared to move forward on’,” said Barnes. “They’re doing that based on a whole number of variables. And when they are talking about moving forward with ENDA, they’re also getting an indication from us that we support it.”


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