UPDATE: This post was edited for clarity and new information was added after the jump.
Previously, I mentioned 3 members of the Indiana Congressional delegation as holding up the original trans-inclusive ENDA. Today, I spoke with Rep. Baron Hill's press secretary and she was very adamant that they are not holding up ENDA (see update below) and that Rep. Hill is indeed supportive of a trans-inclusive ENDA. Of course, they waffled in saying that there are always last minute changes that could blow up any bill, but that the Congressman was supportive of gender identity being included in ENDA, fundamentally.
Nonetheless, she encouraged folks to still contact the Congressman's office to indicate their support for ENDA with trans-inclusive language. Be sure to thank the Congressman for supporting non-discrimination.
Further, the Congressman's staff was shocked to be asked about the Whip count that Rep. Frank mentions in his guest post on this site. In fact, she was adamant that Rep. Hill had not participated in any official Whip count on ENDA and that their office was unaware of ANY official Whip count taking place. (see update after the jump)
Read the quote from Rep. Frank's guest post and more after the jump!
From Rep. Frank:
The Democratic leadership, which is in complete sympathy with a fully inclusive bill, did a special official Whip count – a poll of the Members. There had been earlier informal counts that had showed significant support for a bill that included transgender, although even these informal checks never showed that we had a majority. But Members will sometimes be inclined to give people the answers they think the people who are asking the questions want until the crunch comes. In the crunch – the official Whip count taken in contemplation of the bill – it became very clear that while we would retain a significant majority of Democrats, we would lose enough so that a bill that included transgender protection would lose if not amended, and that an anti-transgender amendment would pass.
Seems like a disconnect to me. We're now in the process of trying to verify this Whip count ever took place. I'm not sure how there can be an "official Whip count" when every Member isn't polled.
UPDATE: I spoke with Rep. Hill's press secretary again. She says there was an "unofficial Whip count" on this issue and that Rep. Hill voted "undecided". She says Rep. Hill isn't an impediment to any ENDA bill, but I countered that if he voted "undecided" on the Whip count in question, that figured into Rep. Frank's decision to pull "gender identity" according to Rep. Frank's own words. In other words, an "undecided" vote is no different than a no vote if the Whip count is to determine if a majority exists, which is what Rep. Frank says in the quote above.
There is still no clarity as to whether this Whip count was official or unofficial.
Whatever the case, it's absolutely essential that we keep up the pressure and express our support for an all-inclusive ENDA. Here's the contact info again: