Dr. Jillian T. Weiss


Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | November 16, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Markup, postponed

The House Committee on Education and Labor, which was due to mark up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on Wednesday of this week, has announced that it is postponing its markup. A terse statement on the Committee's website states simply that "This markup has been postponed."

I had posted on Wednesday about rumors of a possible slow-down on ENDA. DC insiders said there was no slow-down, and that the bill is "on track." However, it appeared, after comparing statements made when the bill was introduced with later statements, that the House vote, initially thought to be in October or November, was now being discussed in a "December or February" timeframe. That would put the bill up before the Senate during midterm election campaigns, which could make it more difficult to gain support among conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans.

Since the House is not in session next week, the earliest date for markup would be in December. That would make it difficult to obtain a House vote on ENDA before year's end.

It is my understanding that the postponement is occurring to make certain technical amendments. Given that the purpose of the markup procedure is to offer such amendments, it is difficult to understand why markup has been postponed. The bill's language has been available in substantially the same form since 2007, when it was last voted on by the House. It is likely that Rep. Miller is taking his cues from LGBT House leaders.

In the meantime, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act is moving forward to markup in the House, and may be a bill that seems easier to pass in the Senate. Because of the pressure on legislators and the administration to pass something to mollify those participating in the DNC boycott, the DPBO may be seen as an easier task than ENDA.

A person who answered at the Committee's office tonight confirmed that the bill's markup has been postponed. She said that ENDA is a priority for Chairman Miller, and that the postponement occurred because the Committee felt that some additional time was needed to address issues pertinent to the bill. She said that there was no additional information available about why the markup was postponed, or what those issues might have been. She also stated that there is "no clear date" for rescheduling.

However, the Advocate's story tonight quoted an unnamed staffer who said that the markup would be scheduled for sometime after Thanksgiving.

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Jillian, if you get this crossposted to the Blend, zap me a quick email and I'll front page it.


Damn. Had hoped against hope...

"It is likely that Rep. Miller is taking his cues from LGBT House leaders."

Who? and Why? What does it matter if there is not enough support in the Senate right now. We are close in the Senate and can get this thru the House. That should provide some momentum in the Senate. Along with a substantial push from our community. I think ENDA is more critical than DPBO right now.

90% of Americans support this legislation. This makes no sense. Something is going on here.

Even in the Senate DBPO is behind ENDA-- I mean, it's at an earlier point in the process, it's not had a hearing, it has fewer cosponsors and many fewer supporters on the record. I imagine work on DPBOAin the Senate right now could continue without delaying work on ENDA (they are before different committees) but it seems unlikely the Senate could get DPBO ready to be voted on before ENDA unless it seriously slows down on ENDA.

It seems to me that even if the House puts off ENDA some this does not justify putting off ENDA in the Senate. I don't understand why the Senate couldn't just continue its work on its version of the bill while the House completes whatever it is it needs to do on its end.

If they have some set of amendments that would strengthen the bill and that it would make sense to insert before the markup, fine. What alarms me is these indications Jillian is turning up that they may have made some sort of strategic decision to push DPBO in line ahead of ENDA. I can't see any reasonable justification for such a decision.

I have ZERO faith that a truly inclusive (as in T) will -ever- pass. The bigots and zealots are entrenched like ticks in a dog's rump and are not about to give in.

"With freedom and justice for all." HA! And what country would that be?

Angela Brightfeather | November 16, 2009 9:01 PM

So,,,,,,,, where is United ENDA when you need it?

It seems like it's time to get back on the horse and ride it until it gets good and sweaty.

If the Democrats think that they can mollify participants in the DNC boycott by providing domestic partner benefits to Federal employees, they're grossly deluded. Our official stand, remember, is that we won't continue to donate to the Democratic Party until Congress takes action on ENDA, DADT, *and* DOMA. Some of us would be inclined to lift the boycott if Congress acts on the first two; we know that DOMA repeal would be very hard. But none of us consider inaction on ENDA or DADT excusable. If ENDA is not on the books by November 2010, or if DADT is still on the books, we will feel that the Democratic Party has profoundly betrayed us, even if they pass other, less significant LGBT rights bills.


Phil, are you really so naive as to think Congress, who had no problem bailing out Wall Street with our money, will somehow be persuaded to support legislation that nearly 90% of the country supports? Is that really all it takes to win equality? Phone calls? No wonder Congress feels they can postpone a passage of ENDA: they know some of us won't fight back.

Where is Bil Browing's snide commentary on this? Who does Bil blame?

Wake up. There was never political support for ENDA or the repeal of DADT and DOMA. Calling or writing doesn't change that. The opposition is based on religious beliefs - either the politician or the constituents.

I have tracked the 111th Congress based on their particular religion or the "importance of religion" to their constituents. It has never shown enough votes, especially in the Senate.

These votes cannot be changed by making demands. The minds of their constituents need to be changed. The LGBT Community does nothing in that regard. Nothing.

YOU need to wake up, AndrewW! The majority of Americans support ENDA.

Who is going to find out what is exactly going on here?? We don't know 'what' to do, if we don't know why there was a delay in the committee mark up. I've asked before; 'which of our National LGBT organizations have the lead on ENDA?' We need to know whats happening.

NCTE posted on their blog about what they're "correcting", as did the Advocate. Complete bullshine, if you ask me. I mean, what have they been doing since June? These objections were raised months ago, and they are specious. I could write a long, boring post proving the point, but it would be a complete waste of time, as what is done is done. There is no national organization that has the "lead." There is also no "what" to do, except wait for our leaders to get their butts in gear. They have our best interests at heart, even if they are not going about things in the best way from my point of view. But I don't think berating the surgeon is going to help the patient while he's on the table, even if there is a better way to do the operation.

You're trusting "polls?" Really?

The Majority of Congress DOES NOT support us. There are not enough Pro-LGBT Members of the 111th Congress. That's the reality.

Denying that, or making more phone calls DOES NOT change that.

If the LGBT Community keeps doing what it's doing, it will keep getting what it's getting.

Our "strategy" is 40 years old, but it's a whole new world. Colorful "fail." That's all.

Rev. Donna Leecb4h7v | November 17, 2009 9:13 PM

I have a feeling we need to watch out for being thrown under the bus again. I do not trust the dems or the President. He should just go into a joint session of congress and say it is only fair and right to give our gay citizens equality and be done with it. Pass the damn laws.