Representative George Miller is the chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor. His Committee was supposed to markup the Employment Non-Discrimination Act last Wednesday and move it to the House floor for a vote. Instead, he has decided to hold ENDA in Committee to "tinker" with language that needs no tinkering, with no guarantee that it will be rescheduled in December. Meanwhile, there is a legislative logjam waiting to break loose in the Senate, a major new jobs initiative coming, another LGBT bill on domestic partnership benefits for federal employees edging ahead of ENDA, midterm election campaigns in which 4 Senators we need are going up for re-election, and DADT promised for Spring/Fall 2010. I've discussed this in detail here and here.
There's a lot of big players coming at us rapidly from downfield. It's "move it or lose it" time.
Chairman Miller's reasoning for the delay? At the last minute, he has decided that the language, introduced last year and again in June, now is suddenly vulnerable to conservative judges. The changes he's suggested are unnecessary, as I have previously discussed in detail. He also thinks that it will be no problem to move ENDA into the Senate in the Spring.
With all due respect to Chairman Miller, and knowing that he is committed to ENDA, I do not understand his strategy. It is unconscionable that the bill has not yet been rescheduled for a markup.
If you value ENDA, please call the Committee on Education and Labor now, and ask that ENDA, HR 3017, be rescheduled immediately for a markup the first week in December.
Let's do this for two days - Tuesday and Wednesday, to give enough time to for everyone to come on board. Here's the number - dial early and often: House Committee on Education and Labor: 202-225-3725. (You can also call the toll free DC Capitol line and ask for the Committee: 866-220-0044)
There is also a petition to sign online: click here.
More info after the jump.
There's no need for Chairman Miller to wait until this "tinkering" is done in order to put the ENDA markup on the schedule. I mean, how long is this going to take? You've already had more than a week since you postponed it. Put it on the schedule now for the first week in December.
It's not just me who thinks that delay is a bad idea. The Advocate reported that Representative Tammy Baldwin said that delay is not good.
Another setback for the legislative agenda was the postponement of a committee vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. While the delay appears to be a function of wrangling over hypertechnical legal language rather than substantive changes to the bill, the House ENDA vote could still move into next year, possibly as late as February, according to Rep. Barney Frank.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin this week acknowledged that no delay is a good delay.
"I think there's an absolute advantage of having it happen this year or as early as possible next year," she said of a full House vote on ENDA.
With all due respect to Representative Baldwin, "early as possible next year" means February, which would put ENDA into the Senate in the Spring. That timing does not look good for the reasons I stated above: a legislative logjam waiting to break loose in the Senate, a major new jobs initiative coming, another LGBT bill on domestic partnership benefits for federal employees edging ahead of ENDA, midterm election campaigns in which 4 Senators we need are going up for re-election, and DADT promised for Spring/Fall 2010.
Let's take today and tomorrow to demand that the markup be rescheduled immediately for the first week in December. Perhaps then we will have something to give thanks for.
Here's more contact info for Representative Miller. Call early and often. Please ask him to immediately reschedule ENDA, HR 3017, for a markup the first week in December.
(Toll free DC Capitol line: 866-220-0044)
Richmond, CA 510-262-6500
Vallejo, CA 707-645-1888
Concord, CA 925-602-1880
(Click here for email)