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  Deja Vu

ENDA To Be Reintroduced In Congress, Where It Will Probably Die Again

What would a session of Congress be without another chance for ENDA (or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for the acronym-averse)? On Thursday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D.-OR) plans to introduce yet again the bill, which would provide protections against being fired on the basis of sexual orientation.

“We definitely see a tremendous amount of discussion of marriage equality,” Merkley told Kevin Drum of the Washington Post. “The momentum in that area will also be reflected in this area of employment. I feel we have reached a turning point.”

ENDA is the legislative equivalent of a sixty-year-old debutante. The legislation has been proposed in nine out of the ten past Congressional sessions and it has gone nowhere. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it was passed a long time ago in the light of the marriage debate, but Congress is the graveyard of progress so it continues to languish.

Is this time any different? Sen. Tom Harkin, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, promises to get the bill to the Senate floor for a full vote. But, due to perennial Republican threat of filibuster, it takes 60 votes to get anything passed in the Senate these days. Even if all 54 Democrats sign onto ENDA, which would be a stretch, supporters still need to pick off six Republican senators. Right now, only two–Mark Kirk and Susan Collins–are co-sponsors of the bill.

Now, it’s possible (in the sense that it’s possible pigs might sprout wings) that Senate Republicans could see this is a chance to pivot away from the anti-gay positions that are harming their chances at the national level. More likely, however, they will argue that federal regulations will strangle business, because business is so much more important than people.

Even if there is no filibuster, the odds in the GOP-controlled House are really slim. Democrat Jared Polis and Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are getting ready to introduce the bill there, following on their introduction of an anti-bullying measure.  For House Speaker John Boehner, making sure the bill never comes to a vote is an easy gift to conservatives who don’t much trust him.

So, sorry, folks. It looks like you soon may be able to say “I do,” but your boss may still be able to say “You’re fired.”

By:           John Gallagher
On:           Apr 23, 2013
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 5 Comments
    • DOFEK
      DOFEK

      My problem is that if they will Reintroduced ENDA! it`s mean that I will no
      longer can fired Christian that till now cannot work in my business. AdamHomo

      Apr 24, 2013 at 12:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • boring
      boring

      Oddly enough, Dame Edna is to be reintroduced in Congress again, where she will be met with general confusion as to why we ever thought she was funny to begin with.

      Apr 24, 2013 at 12:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • niles
      niles

      Actually, ENDA passed the house several years ago and was well on its way to passage in the Senate. However, militant activists insisted on tacking on unrelated additions that doomed the bill.

      Apr 24, 2013 at 3:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Harley
      Harley

      @DOFEK: HUH? Your grammar really sucks.

      Apr 24, 2013 at 5:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John Doe
      John Doe

      It is too bad that Democrats didn’t push for passing this bill back when they controlled the Senate, House and White House —- AND yet were still able to pass other “controversial” pieces of legislation such as the Affordable Care Act. I guess when something is important enough to you you’re wiling to push for it to be passed. Otherwise…. let it just collect dust and don’t bother.

      Apr 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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