Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weekly ENDA Update

To: All guests of Weekly ENDA Update
From: Jillian Weiss
Date: November 23, 2009

It was a surprise to most people that the markup of ENDA, scheduled for last Wednesday morning at 10 am, was abruptly postponed on Monday night at 6:30 pm, heralded by a terse red notice on the House Committee on Education and Labor website. After all, ENDA had been touted for months as the next promise to be kept to our community, with LGBT House leaders embracing a vote in September or October.

But in a city like DC, where reading tea leaves is a high art, it really shouldn't have been much of a surprise. Rumors of an ENDA postponement appeared two weeks ago. Congressman Frank told a reporter that ENDA could be voted on "in February," and that the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations bill (DPBO) is first in line before ENDA. When I wrote about these rumors, and the major concerns about pushing ENDA into a midterm election campaign timeframe, my politico friends took me to task. I was told to "calm down and listen up." "There's no delay on ENDA in the House," he said. Another one said "Barney just made a mistake. Don't make too much of it. You're panicking. It's not time to panic yet."

Barney Frank is many things, but he did not become the most powerful U.S. Representative in DC because he has messy accidents in public in front of news reporters.

Fast forward two weeks, to today, and we now know that the rumors were absolutely correct. The ENDA markup was postponed a week ago for "technical amendments." Instead of the usual procedure of setting a date a week or two later to give enough time to address the issues, no date has been set for the markup. The Committee on Education and Labor is saying it hopes to reschedule the markup in December, but no guarantees. But it's full speed ahead on DPBO, which had its markup on time last week, and which the Advocate reports will be voted on by the end of the year and rushed off to the Senate.

And now Congress is out of session until next week. Chairman George Miller should never have postponed this, but now that he has, he needs to move ENDA first thing next week. But there's more bad news after the jump. Click here to read more: http://bit.ly/6SlxIN

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