House to Vote on ENDA
The House of Representatives will vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) this week most likely on Wednesday. A vote on the House floor has been postponed for several weeks to give LGBT activists tie to build congressional support for an amendment to restore gender identity language to the bill.
From the Washington Blade:
The decision to bring the bill, known as ENDA, to the House floor comes after weeks of behind-the-scenes debate among Democratic leaders over whether to allow a vote on an amendment to restore protections for transgender persons to the bill. Sources told the Blade Tuesday that a vote is likely to be held Wednesday, contradicting earlier reports that it would happen Tuesday.
News that House Democrats had decided to move ahead with the legislation surfaced late Monday afternoon, when the House Rules Committee announced it would meet within a few hours notice to decide on ground rules for the debate and vote on the bill.
In the hastily called meeting, which drew protests from Republicans, the Democratic-controlled rules panel approved a rule allowing three pre-arranged amendments to be introduced during the debate on the bill. One of the amendments calls for adding transgender protections to the legislation.
The rule states that the trans amendment, set to be introduced by gay Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), “may be withdrawn by its proponent” before it comes up for a vote.
Beyond the question of what will happen with the Baldwin amendment, is whether there are now even the votes to past a sexual orientation ENDA. Some LGBT activists and organizations and anti-gay activists have urged members of Congress to vote against a sexual orientation ENDA. If ENDA fails in the House, it will go down partially as a result of some LGBT activists opposing the bill.