Failure To Pass ENDA More Complicated Than Meets The Eye

by July 30, 2010

Last week’s protest by GetEQUAL, targeting Sen. Harry Reid with demands that he push the Employment Non-Discrimination Act through the Senate made headlines across the country, but, as the Washington Blade reports, advocates in and outside Congress are having a hard time agreeing on who to blame for the lack of progress in passing the legislation.

ENDA is currently stuck before committees in both the House and Senate, and legislative leaders have so far resisted moving the legislation further without passing legislation repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. GetEQUAL and its allies attack both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for what they call timidity in trying to push DADT repeal and ENDA through. However, in interviews with the Blade, other advocates like Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality blamed “general disfunction” in the Senate for the current situation.

“It’s certainly not all about ENDA,” she told the Blade. “It’s certainly, certainly not about transgender inclusion in ENDA. They can’t get campaign finance reform through, they can’t get, sometimes, job bills through.”

Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, where ENDA is stuck for the time being, blamed Republicans on the committee for raising objections to the bill that have made it hard to take a vote on the bill, objections he characterized as “not legitimate.”

For their part, the Log Cabin Republicans are rejecting criticism of their own party and siding with GetEQUAL, attacking Reid and Pelosi for “lazy” leadership.

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