Interesting doings yesterday at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which you can view here. I congratulate the Committee and witnesses on doing a wonderful job of addressing business and religious objections to the bill. We had 375 people stop into our Liveblog of the hearing.
In the cold light of an upstate New York morning, here's how I read the numbers on the hearing:
Republican Senators in attendance
Big IF ("Sen. Harkin:IF the leadership - Senator Reid - sees an opening, we'll move it.")
Additional Senators needed to stop a Republican filibuster
Democratic Senators in attendance
Senators with unconfirmed positions on ENDA
Senators supporting ENDA
Senators needed to stop a Republican filibuster
LGBT people in the US
TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY-FIVE MILLION
Potential straight allies in the US
Meanwhile, back in the bowels of the Capitol building, we see Delaware's Senator Ted Kaufman hard at work in his office, deciding whether he will support S1584, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. How to vote? Hmm...must....think....
Please call him and ask him to co-sponsor S1584, or at least to indicate his support.
Senator Kaufman is one of 5 Senators* whom most observers believe to be a supporter of ENDA. Kaufman was only recently appointed to replace VP Joe Biden until the special election in Nov. 2010, in which he has said he will not run. He was the long-time adviser to VP Joe Biden, and has previously co-sponsored bills containing the language of sexual orientation and gender identity. He supported the hate crimes bill through thick and thin. That's a good sign that he is LGBT-friendly.
However, he is not a co-sponsor of S1584, the Senate version of ENDA, nor has he publicly indicated his position. You know the leadership is not going to bring this to the floor for a vote until there are 60 Senators on board.
Please call Senator Kaufman, and ask him to co-sponsor S1584, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. If you're not sure what to say when you call, click here for a "Step-by-Step Script For Calling Legislators On ENDA."
You may get a staffer who is unaware of the Senator's position on ENDA. Take a moment to explain what it is, and to ask if he or she can get some information on the Senator's position. Tell us what they said in the comments below.
Sen. Ted Kaufman:
DC Phone: 202-224-5042
(Toll free DC Capitol line: 866-220-0044)
Click here for email
* The 5 likely yes votes, which brings us up to 56 likely yes votes, are:
1. Tom Carper (D-DE)
2. Ted Kaufman (D-DE)
3. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
4. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
5. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
See the Inclusive ENDA Senate spreadsheet for more details.