hit the breaks

The Senate Is Holding the House Hostage Over ENDA. Again

Until the Senate passes the Defense Department’s budget bill with DADT’s compromised repeal attached, the House isn’t going to move on ENDA, says Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Well isn’t this a familiar situation.

While ENDA is a “personal priority” for Pelosi, she’s also focused on doing “one thing at a time,” she tells the Washington Blade. Which for now means getting the DADT repeal through the Senate and on the president’s desk. And until then, there’s not going to be a vote in the House on ENDA.

I can already hear the on-lookers screaming, “WHY NOT PELOSI?! JUST DO IT!” Except the reality of this situation — the House, voluntarily or not, being stalled by the Senate’s lack of movement — isn’t new. The House has managed to at least introduce ENDA in the past, which Rep. Barney Frank did again this year. It even passed the bill, albeit sans gender identity protections, once before, only to see the Senate stall and let the effort peter out. So let’s be clear that the House waiting for the Senate to move on LGBT legislation isn’t a new phenomenon, and it’ll likely repeat itself again in the future.

What Pelosi’s statement represents now, however, is what we were fearing with DADT: That by the time either the House or Senate gets around to it, Democrats could lose a whole slew of seats to Republicans, killing the chances of passing such legislation after November, putting it in the “now or never” category.