Legal issues delayed ENDA mark-up pushing back final vote possibly until February

Last night, we learned that the mark-up of H.R. 3017, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), by the House Education and Labor Committee, originally scheduled for tomorrow, had been postponed. “Mark-up” is a key step in the legislative process, which gets the bill out of Committee and headed to the House floor.

Today, of course, Kerry Eleveld has the scoop on why the delay happened and how it impacts the final vote on ENDA:

A House committee vote on the Employment Non-discrimination Act, originally scheduled for Wed., Nov. 18, was postponed so that lawyers could adjust the legal language regarding issues of disparate impact, double recovery, and attorney’s fees.

“Our understanding is that the committee lawyers wanted a few more days to look at several of the outstanding issues,” said Allison Herwitt, legislative director of the Human Rights Campaign.

ENDA would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The legal fine-tuning stands to push back the date of the committee vote by about two-to-three weeks. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to see a markup after Thanksgiving and before the end of the year,” Herwitt said.

Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, lead sponsor of the bill, has suggested the full House vote might not take place until February of next year.

Delay isn’t good. As John wrote last night:

The longer the Congress delays acting on ENDA, the more jam-packed the congressional schedule becomes, and the closer to next year’s mid-term congressional elections we get. And nothing scares a Democratic member of Congress than having to show some spine during an election year. Stay tuned.

We’ll keep an eye on this.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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