We have been promised a markup and vote on ENDA in March. It's the first of March today. After the markup, it has to be scheduled on the House floor for a vote. Ideally, there will be some time for interest groups to make their feelings known. So why, when I call the House Committee on Education and Labor, do I keep getting the message that there is no date set or planned for a markup? I keep hearing that everything is held up in DC until health care passes. God alone knows when that will be. I thought this Administration was elected on the premise that we can do more than one thing at a time?
I have been pondering what is really going on here. After all, if it were simply a matter of the press of other business, why the secrecy about the new language of the bill? Why not schedule the markup, even if the scheduling is a couple of weeks down the road?
There is something else going on here, and I have my guesses.
If I were the cynical type, here's how the thought process would go. Fortunately, I'm not at all cynical, and I'm sure no one is thinking this way in that simple, straightforward town called Washington, D.C.
- There is something in this new language they're not going to like. If it's going to be painful, better to let the pain be as short as possible. Schedule the markup, say nothing about the new language, introduce it as an amendment, hope that it gets buried in other news, and get the bill on the floor. Like ripping off a bandaid - too much time to think about it is no good.
- The Senate is missing a few votes, and the political capital needed to move those votes has been expended on health care. Let the LGBTers lobby - that takes a lot of energy and should keep them busy. The truth is most Senators are on board with ENDA, but the few that are missing would require a lot of political muscle that is needed, to the extent that any is left, for the jobs bill. Let's not give this thing too much exposure time.
- Even if there were enough Senators on board to pass ENDA, the bill is going to be buried in the legislative logjam in the Senate, where 200 bills are waiting to go. Those bills have constituencies that a lot larger than the LGBT community, so ENDA is really not even going to get to the plate. If we make a big deal of this bill, then a lot of people will be disappointed when it doesn't even get to a vote. Let's soft-pedal this one.
- Let's rush ENDA in and out of the House so that we can show them we did something, but it was the failure of the LGBT community to lobby ENDA that caused the bill the fail. WE were ready...where were YOU, LGBT community???
That's where ENDA is.
Do we need to lobby for ENDA despite this? Yes, you're damn right we do. While there is definitely a percentage of the DC crowd who are thinking this way, this is by no means all or most of them.
We need to give the ones on our side a reason to sweep aside these nay-sayers. We need to feed the ones who are on our side, and starve the gloom-and-doomers.
Remember, take a plane, train or automobile to DC, and if you need assistance getting there -- read my last post on the subject.