Pelosi Talks ENDA, DADT With Advocates



As LGBT activists prepared to voice their support Tuesday for taking immediate legislative action on employment discrimination protections, House speaker Nancy Pelosi convened a conference call Monday afternoon with advocacy organizations to discuss pending LGBT legislation.

The speaker relayed different avenues to passing both “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act this year and solicited feedback from advocates, according to two participants of the call.

“I have no intention of losing on either of these,” Pelosi said, according to one person on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A second participant said the speaker discussed the timing of taking a vote on ENDA relative to a DADT repeal vote, which is automatically built into the calendar for next week based on the fact that the House is scheduled to consider the National Defense Authorization Act that week. A DADT repeal measure is likely to be proposed on the House floor as an amendment to the defense bill.

The second source said the speaker went through the chronology of the calendar and the fact that taking a vote on ENDA and DADT in the same week is literally impossible from a scheduling standpoint. Pelosi also said she thought ENDA would have a much better likelihood of passing if DADT repeal were successfully ushered through first.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force planned to hold a press conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday urging a vote on ENDA. In addition, GetEqual, a new LGBT direct action organization, planned a demonstration outside Pelosi’s San Francisco district office Tuesday afternoon.

The organization circulated a flier reading, “If we don't get ENDA through the House now, it will DIE. Not just for this year — but probably for many years. We have the votes to pass ENDA in the House. Speaker Pelosi — Don't delay, schedule this vote now!”

While Capitol Hill insiders and lawmakers like Rep. Tammy Baldwin generally agree that the votes to pass ENDA do exist, they continue to worry about the possibility that Republicans will attempt to add an amendment known as a “motion to recommit" in order to kill the bill or irrevocably alter it.

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