Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Rep. Tammy Baldwin Says She Has Counted The Votes On ENDA, And There Are Enough

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | March 21, 2010 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, George Miller, LGBT rights, Nancy Pelosi, Pelosi, Tammy Baldwin

After the sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office by GetEqual activists protesting inaction on ENDA, the Speaker's press secretary said, according to The Advocate, as he had told me the previous week:

"The Speaker believes passing ENDA is a top priority and hopes that we can bring ENDA up as soon as possible. That being said, the right time to bring the measure to the floor will be when we have the votes.

Now comes a report in The San Diego Gay and Lesbian News on Friday that Rep. Tammy Baldwin has counted the votes on ENDA and said there are enough to pass it.

"As someone who has actually counted the votes, I believe that there are," Baldwin said. "That's one of the things the LGBT Equality Caucus does is to [focus] attention to making sure we can tell [House] leadership, with accuracy, what the vote would be if they bring the measures up to the floor."

The article also had more to say about the ENDA sit-ins that occurred last Thursday.

Equally interesting is the report from DC Agenda about its brief on-street interview of Rep. George Miller, who chairs the House Committee on Education and Labor, where ENDA has been stalled for the past six months. Here's the quote from DC Agenda:

Moments after the arrested protesters were taken away, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) was seen walking along a nearby street. He chairs the House Education & Labor Committee, which is handling ENDA. Asked by DC Agenda when ENDA would advance to a markup, Miller replied, "Right after health care."

That's heartening. Of course, there is a ways to go with health care yet before it get signed into law, so his comment is ambiguous as to exactly when.

Here's the quote from SDGLN:

Pressure has grown dramatically in recent days for a spotlight on LGBT-related issues in Congress.

...Thursday afternoon, other activists with the group staged sit-ins in both the San Francisco and Washington, D.C., offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Capitol police arrested four of the protestors at Pelosi's Congressional office. San Francisco police arrested six people.

Responding to the protests, Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill released a statement saying, "The Speaker believes passing ENDA is a top priority and hopes that we can bring ENDA up as soon as possible. That being said, the right time to bring the measure to the floor will be when we have the votes."

It was during the Boston interview, five days earlier, that Baldwin said she had counted the votes on ENDA and DADT and believes the votes are there.

Baldwin was in Boston on March 13 to receive an award from the Fenway Health organization, a local LGBT community medical center.

The news that Rep. Baldwin has counted the votes and says there are enough accords with my own understanding of the facts on the matter, and contrary to what Speaker Nancy Pelosi's press secretary told me last week.

Here's what he said, as I reported in my post last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi: We Don't Have The Votes And I'm Not Helping:

Here's what I got from Speaker Pelosi's office last night: "The Speaker believes passing ENDA is a top priority and hopes that we can bring ENDA up as soon as possible. That being said, the right time to bring the measure to the floor will be when we have the votes."

When I pointed out that, according to my whip count, we have a majority in the House and Senate, I was told that the Committee has not yet marked up the bill, so there is nothing to be whipped. "I would add anytime when asked about unofficial whip counts that it's important to have the Committee product because you cannot accurately whip a hypothetical bill. Whipping a hypothetical bill yields only hypothetical results."

But according to that logic, how can one ever know if there are enough votes to move forward? Oh, I see, we have to first move forward to mark up the bill. But are there enough votes to justify moving forward to mark up the bill? I don't know, and it is apparently impossible to know, because one must first mark it up in order to determine whether there are enough votes to mark it up.

Circular logic. The Oracle at Delphi did better.

Last night on the Rachel Maddow show, Nancy Pelosi appeared for practically the full hour, discussing health reform. She said something that bears significantly on the issue of moving ENDA forward: "Every bill is a heavy lift. There is not one easy bill. And so the issue is, when you have the votes, you take the vote, and you win, but never expect to be easy."

In other words, if we have the votes on ENDA, move forward to a vote. How many times does it need to be said that WE HAVE A MAJORITY OF VOTES ON ENDA. IT IS DOCUMENTED AND CLEAR. MUST WE GO TO SPEAKER PELOSI'S OFFICE AND SHOW HER THE ROLL OF ENDA SUPPORTERS?

Okay, putting that aside, I asked whether the Speaker supports moving the bill forward to a markup now.

"The Speaker has absolute confidence in Chairman Miller to determine the appropriate timing for his committee's work on ENDA."

Okay, great, so I suppose that means that she's ready whenever Chairman George Miller is ready.

Madam Speaker, you said that "the right time to bring the measure to the floor will be when we have the votes." We have the votes. Get this bill marked up and ready to move to the floor.

No more delay.


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Maybe the next time Pelosi steps out for a face tightening and a new layer of shellac Baldwin can sneak the bill through.

I am amazed at how for a group of politicians who supposedly support this Bill (ENDA) that they seem to be doing pretty much everything they can to take the wind out of any sails that might be pushing this Bill along. The only conclusion someone such as myself can come to is they are just posturing to keep everyone stirred up politically. Once a Bill such as ENDA is passed, all those who used it in some way politically have lost their "tool". Groups like HRC and others have one less thing to whip up the people who's support keeps them going. So simple person I am, I guess I starting to believe the Democrats who claim to support this Bill are secretly trying to find every way they can to scuttle it. Thus the reason for the delay tactics.

That's exactly how it feels to me, too, Joanna Sue

All I know is it makes me feel less and less inclined to vote for Democrats in the fall. ( not that I am likely to vote for Republicans mind you ) I however am not above going to the Green Party or others.

Baldwin counted the votes in the House before you bitch-slapped Nancy Pelosi. I think a recount is in order.

Last week Pelosi's office told me "we didn't have the votes in the Senate." We still don't. I'm sure they told you the same.

Now,we'll have to see if she's willing to do anything controversial before the mid-terms, but I think all hope of that faded on Friday afternoon.

Andrew, the term "bitch-slapped" is a derogatory reference to violence against women. It is not an appropriate term for a politically conscious person to be using, unless you're going for a misogynistic put-down.

Your tone is growing more and more surly as time goes on. I don't think much of your verbal bullying, and it's quite unbecoming of you. You have good points to make, and they're only obscured by the mean girl attitude.

Anyway, on to the substance of your point. You imply that Speaker Pelosi will now intentionally lie about the number of votes for ENDA because of the sit-in, and you seem to like the idea, calling for a recount. At the same time, however, you also acknowledge that she has long denied that there are enough votes for ENDA. That's just illogical. If her office told you there aren't enough votes before the sit-in, how can you claim she's going to change her tune by saying the same thing afterwards?

Factually, she's always downplayed the number of votes for ENDA, but we know where the votes are, and aren't. She can't play that game. And neither can you.

"Andrew, the term "bitch-slapped" is a derogatory reference to violence against women. It is not an appropriate term for a politically conscious person to be using, unless you're going for a misogynistic put-down."

I have been routinely "bitch-slapped" on Bilerico. "Bitch" is apparently a gender-neutral term.

"You have good points to make, and they're only obscured by the mean girl attitude."

Please do not disrespect MY gender identity.

Lincoln Rose | March 22, 2010 4:27 AM

I seem to remember this being the case last time too..Frank & company insisting there just aren't enough votes.

In the meantime Baldwin, who has always struck me as honest and hardworking, has said every time that the votes are there.

What's in it for F&Co to keep this stalled out? Or, are some folks losing political clout and wanting someone to blame it on?

One reason for the whip count secrecy, Lincoln, is that the politicians get to play the legislation any way they want. If they think they need to move it politically, then they say there are enough votes and the American people demand it. Or, if it's politically inconvenient, they can say there aren't enough votes and blame us for not lobbying hard enough.

The whip count is no longer secret, and if they play that game, they'll lose.

I suspect that a good deal of political capital has been expended on this Heath Care Bill. I would hate to know all the threats and intimidation done to get the votes to move that forward. I am not sure anyone up there in Washington has the stomach for much of a fight right away.

Angela Brighfeather | March 22, 2010 2:22 PM

I guess everyone has forgetten about the "tweaking" going on in committee. So far that has not risen to the top of any arguements and you have to wonder why that is. No leaks, not even from Kucinich's office who has always been on the side of an inclusive ENDA.

Politically speaking, it would seem to me that we should be prepared for a clap of thunder and lightning vote coming out of the House side, from a vote that might take place any time and without any warning. Thus the "timing" remark gains added signifigance. We need to be ready for this and I don't see anyone getting ready. If that vote gets thrown out there, even with a week or two notice on the calander, it provides precious little time to react to the obvious tweak that will cut out Trans people, placade the religious right with more rights not to hire GLBT people and it might even have special restrictions for rest room use, requiring proof that you are who you appear to be, when most states don't even have a bathroom designation law that prohibits use by either sex. This may be the big surprise.

Usually when politicians react to these pressures, they want to get it over with as quickly as possible to avoid the scuffle. Pass it and get out of town on the 3:30 flight from DCA, just before the recess.

I'm not having any visions here as I so often do, but it sure feels this is the game they are playing. Between HRC, Frank, Pelosi, Miller, Baldwin, only representative Baldwin seems to have the moxy to say anything, everyone else is dead silent. This sure smells like a setup to me to do away with as much controversy as possible about thowing "someone" under the bus again. The last time I felt this feeling was when living in New York State and they were meeting in smoke filled rooms with locked doors while Matt Foreman was making a deal to sacrifice Trans people in their legislation over 10 years ago, followed by the tune of "we will come back to get you". Which of course they have not been successful at since the day that trechery occured.

I think it is better to be ready for this than to ignore the possibilities of it happening. But in this case I think the deal has already been cut in Miller's committee and when ENDA reappears, we may be looking at something that we cannot support and with no time to stop it from happening.

Angela Brighfeather | March 22, 2010 2:27 PM

I guess everyone has forgetten about the "tweaking" going on in committee. So far that has not risen to the top of any arguements and you have to wonder why that is. No leaks, not even from Kucinich's office who has always been on the side of an inclusive ENDA.

Politically speaking, it would seem to me that we should be prepared for a clap of thunder and lightning vote coming out of the House side, from a vote that might take place any time and without any warning. Thus the "timing" remark gains added signifigance. We need to be ready for this and I don't see anyone getting ready. If that vote gets thrown out there, even with a week or two notice on the calander, it provides precious little time to react to the obvious tweak that will cut out Trans people, placade the religious right with more rights not to hire GLBT people and it might even have special restrictions for rest room use, requiring proof that you are who you appear to be, when most states don't even have a bathroom designation law that prohibits use by either sex. This may be the big surprise.

Usually when politicians react to these pressures, they want to get it over with as quickly as possible to avoid the scuffle. Pass it and get out of town on the 3:30 flight from DCA, just before the recess.

I'm not having any visions here as I so often do, but it sure feels this is the game they are playing. Between HRC, Frank, Pelosi, Miller, Baldwin, only representative Baldwin seems to have the moxy to say anything, everyone else is dead silent. This sure smells like a setup to me to do away with as much controversy as possible about thowing "someone" under the bus again. The last time I felt this feeling was when living in New York State and they were meeting in smoke filled rooms with locked doors while Matt Foreman was making a deal to sacrifice Trans people in their legislation over 10 years ago, followed by the tune of "we will come back to get you". Which of course they have not been successful at since the day that trechery occured.

I think it is better to be ready for this than to ignore the possibilities of it happening. But in this case I think the deal has already been cut in Miller's committee and when ENDA reappears, we may be looking at something that we cannot support and with no time to stop it from happening.

Jillian,

You need to pay more attention to exactly what I said above. Pelosi's office told me the same thing she told you we don't have the votes in the US Senate. We all know that reality.

The issue of whether or not we have enough votes in the House has probably changed since Friday's stunt. We'll know soon.

I've asked you to share WHY you believe embarrassing Pelosi will lead to either 1) changed minds about us or 2) changed votes about us. That's the objective, not headlines and blog mentions.

GetEqual is supposed to publish their rationale for "publicity stunts" and "pledging to demand" on their website before Wednesday. I hope you'll do the same here.

ac·count·abil·i·ty

Function: noun

the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions.

Those who are promoting these actions must share some rationale or evidence that they are effective. Otherwise, they will not be supported - financially or with our participation.

This isn't news. We have HAD the votes in the House for months already. It is the Senate where we are short on votes. So the House can pass it and then it will languish in the Senate as MOST legislation does due to the 60 votes we now lack there. People should be working their Senators about this. The House will move on it when they are ready. Barney, Tammy and Jared will make sure this happens, I am confident of this.

OMG, Did you all see this: http://www.endahurtskids.com/

Despicable.

I knew it was only a matter of time they used this argument. When all else fails for them, they inject kids into the mix. They did it for Prop 8 and they are doing it again. It makes me SICK!!!

It's pretty telling how the design of their website forces a one-way conversation. Not even so much as an email address. The only input they're willing to take is in dollar form. They may as well print in bold, "We realize that any rational two-way conversation will quickly dispel this irrational myth."