There will be an extremely important Congressional hearing on ENDA this Wednesday, September 23, at 10:00 am ET. It is before the Committee on Education and Labor. It will have a lot to do with whether ENDA succeeds or not. But of the 49 committee members, 15 have voted against, or are undecided on ENDA. Another 4 are thought to be supportive, but have failed and refused to co-sponsor.
What do you think we should do about that?
Like all Congressional hearings, it will have the charm of a lead balloon. There's no sound track, no quick cutaway to the well-acted reactions of various witnesses and Congressmembers, and it doesn't wrap up in 30 minutes. But if you listen carefully, very carefully, the music in the background begins to rise. It will either be a triumphal anthem, swelling the heart and leading to victory, or a funeral march, foreshadowing the doom of a noble cause.
This is where your part in the drama comes in. You will either call these Congressmembers offices in droves, demanding equal rights, or you will not. You will either harangue your friends and relatives to call and email, or you will not. You will either become a demand for justice, or you will attend to other business. What say you?
The hearing by the full Committee on Education and Labor will be available to watch online live by going to http://bit.ly/bxyfr.On the top right-hand side of the page, an inch down, click on "Live Webcast."
The hearing is designed to focus attention on this bill, amid all the other hullabaloo in DC and the nation, and to see if Congressmembers will stand up and take notice.
It is unclear whether there are enough votes to pass ENDA in the House if it were to be voted on today. The leadership will not let it proceed to a vote until that is clear. That is going to be up to you.
I suggest you watch the hearing carefully.
The House Numbers
There are currently 159 co-sponsors of ENDA, HR 3017, in the House. Co-sponsorship is important because it means that Congressmember is solidly behind the bill and can be counted upon to vote in support.
Another 20 Congressmembers have indicated privately they will vote in support, but are not co-sponsors. 30 more are seen as probable yes votes, either because they co-sponsored ENDA in the past or supported other LGBT causes.
That brings us to 209, which is 9 short of what we need at a bare minimum.
Committee Members Not In Favor of ENDA
There are some members of the Committee on Education and Labor, who will be voting on your rights, who are not in favor of ENDA. You must call them, whether they are from your district or not, though I suggest you look for ones in or nearest your state. They are voting on your civil rights, and you have every right and duty to ask them for support.
The following members of the Committee are not co-sponsors of ENDA:
Jason Altmire (D-PA-04),
Paul Tonko (D-NY-21)
Dina Titus (D-NV-3)
The following members of the Committee voted against ENDA in 2007
John Kline (R-MN-02)
Thomas E. Petri (R-WI-06)
Howard "Buck" McKeon
Peter Hoekstra (R-MI-02)
Mark E. Souder (R-IN-03)
Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI-03)
Joe Wilson (R-SC-02)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05)
Tom Price (R-GA-06)
Rob Bishop (R-UT-01)
The following members of the Committee appear to be undecided about ENDA:
Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2)
Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6)
Tom McClintock (R-CA-4)
Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA-52)
Phil Roe (R-TN-1)
Glenn "GT" Thompson (PA-05)
Call and ask for them at (202) 224-3121. Click on their names for their web pages and email contact info.
More Strategy Tips
It would also be good strategy to get the 50 who are likely to vote in support - but who have not yet agreed to co-sponsor -- to agree to co-sponsorship.
More co-sponsorships will help notify the leadership that this bill is ready for a vote. If your Congressmember is not yet a co-sponsor, please call him or her and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Here's how:
Find your Representative here: http://www.votesmart.org/.
Find your Representative's ENDA status here: http://bit.ly/Q5YMJ
The telephone number is (202) 224-3121. Put that on speed dial.
Please let us know what you've done in the comment space below, so we can encourage each other. Are we willing to fight for our rights?