Today is ENDA lobby day in DC, where hundreds are converging on their legislators' offices. It's a beautiful Spring day in Washington DC, and the flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing. (I wouldn't know, though, because I'm laid low with another kind of bug and decided against going to DC and waging germ warfare against Congress.) Bees and bloggers have a lot in common. As there are gaggles of geese and flocks of birds and swarms of bees, so too are there swarms of bloggers. And a swarm of bloggers is gathering on Thursday.
A blogswarm is a swarm of buzzing bloggers, all coverging on a single target with a single message. We did it before, letting HRC know that the community wanted action from HRC on Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal. HRC listened, to its credit.
This time, we will be converging on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to demand that ENDA move to a vote in March as promised. The action is planned for this Thursday.
Here's who's on board so far:
We have Americablog, Towleroad, Pam's House Blend, Joe My God, DavidMixner.com, Daily Gotham, CultureKitchen, TaylorMarsh.com, Adam Bink of Open Left, and Andrew McClure of Kos.
Several major journalists and media outlets will be covering it as well. I am hoping for others too, so if you're a blogger, journalist or media person and want inside access, drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Why a blogswarm addressed to Nancy Pelosi? Bzzzt!
The word from DC is that House Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller is on board with moving ENDA to a markup, and that Reps. Frank, Baldwin and Polis are eager to move it. However, the word also is that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is not quite on board.
As I explained in my post earlier this week, Pelosi's office told me that they were fully committed to ENDA -- but only after they know the votes are there. When I noted that we have a majority in both Houses of Congress, I was told they can't really know if the votes are there until the bill is marked up, but also Pelosi won't tell House Committee Chair Miller to move to a markup. Miller's office, meanwhile, is telling me that they can't move until Pelosi gives the high sign because health reform is taking up all the air in the room. Silly me, thinking Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Speaker Pelosi is probably holding up ENDA because she doesn't want to force the House to vote on something unless it's a sure thing. The House has enough votes, but the Senate is a question mark. We have 55 likely yes votes there, but whether we can eke out another 5 to get to 60 is an open question, and maybe the Senate leadership will attach ENDA to another bill, as they did with the passage of the Hate Crimes bill (which didn't have 60 either.) That's a lot of ifs. Hey, I wouldn't want to roll the dice if I were her either. But as she noted regarding health care reform, it could never have happened without the leadership's full support, including the President. ENDA can happen, but we need a fully committed, engaged leadership to pull it through. Not lukewarm advocates, wringing their hands, wondering if we have enough votes. We need fierce advocates going in there and pulling the votes out.
That's why we're taking this action on Thursday. We were promised fierce advocacy. We were promised a House vote in March. We were promised hope and change.
But we were promised lots of things, including DADT repeal this year, and what we get instead is talk of year-long studies and votes down the road.
ENDA is ready for a vote. Let's do it now.
We're not forgetting your point, Mr. President, that people must fight to change, that change is not given willingly, but taken by forceful demands.
We are going there, Speaker Pelosi. We forcefully demand the right to full participation in the life of our country, including economic rights. We have the right to get and keep a job regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.
Put this bill to a vote. Move it through the House. Keep your promises.
Speaker Pelosi can be reached at 202-225-4965. Call now.