Upping the pressure for a vote on ENDA

Later today, a coalition called ENDANow is holding a protest outside of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in San Francisco to demand a vote on ENDA.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in conjunction with several other groups, just concluded a press conference here in DC also making that same demand. ENDANow live tweeted from the event. Via those tweets, NGLTG’s Rea Carey said, “We’re here to demand that Congress pass ENDA without delay.”

As we noted last week, there have already been many delays and broken promises on ENDA. And, it looks like there will be further delays.

Coincidentally (or not), yesterday, Speaker Pelosi hosted a conference call with representatives from several advocacy groups, though notably not the Task Force nor GetEQUAL. She laid out timelines and hurdles to passage of ENDA and the repeal of DADT. There could be a DADT vote next week when the House considers the 2011 Defense authorization bill. The looming issue for ENDA is whatever the GOP concocts as a “motion to recommit.” Kerry Eleveld has the scoop on Pelosi’s conference call:

On the call, the Speaker suggested that the motion to recommit could be harsher than activists originally anticipated, and said that while she believed ENDA could pass if it were put to vote right now, she was concerned that progressive Democrats could not overcome a narrowly targeted motion to recommit.

However, the second source added that Pelosi said she did not intend to leave this Congress without putting ENDA to a vote in the House. “It’s not one or the other,” the source recalled Pelosi saying in reference to ENDA and DADT.

If ENDA is not called to vote this week and the House considers DADT next week, any vote on employment protections legislation would be pushed back at least into the second week of June, after lawmakers return from a weeklong recess during the first week. ENDA has yet to be voted on in committee, but LGBT advocates anticipate that the House vote will commence shortly after committee passage.

The call included several Pelosi aides and representatives from a mix of DC- and California-based organizations: the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, the Transgender Law Center, and the Equality Federation.

The further the vote gets pushed back, the harder it will be to bring it to the floor. Many in Pelosi’s caucus don’t want to take any more “hard” or “controversial” votes. On Capitol Hill, LGBT = controversial. (They only really like us during campaign season when we donate or volunteer.)

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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