Baldwin Appointed to Senate Committees Overseeing LGBT Priorities

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com December 13 2012 11:20 AM ET

U.S. Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the first openly gay person elected to the chamber, has been appointed to committees dealing with long-standing LGBT legislation.

The Democratic Steering Committee announced Wednesday that Baldwin will sit on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; the Senate Special Committee on Aging; and the Senate Budget Committee. The assignments are subject to approval by the full Democratic caucus and approval of organizing resolution by the full Senate when it convenes next month, according to the announcement.

The Senate HELP Committee has jurisdiction over the Employment Non-discrimination Act and the two measures, the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-discrimination Act, which would address bullying in schools. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, long a priority of Baldwin’s, which would extend benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees.

Tico Almeida, the president of Freedom to Work, issued a statement congratulating Baldwin on the appointment. He said he would work with her to move ENDA.

“We congratulate Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin on her selection to the Senate committee that will move ENDA forward.  She has been a tremendous champion for workplace fairness, and we are thrilled that she will bring her powerful voice to the upcoming debate about whether all LGBT Americans deserve a fair shot at the American dream,” he said. “We are optimistic this committee will debate and mark-up ENDA in 2013, and we will push for Senate leaders to move the bill from committee to the floor of the Senate for a long-overdue vote of that full chamber.”

The assignments are subject to approval by the full Democratic caucus and approval of organizing resolution by the full Senate when the new Congress convenes next month, according to the announcement. Assignments have not yet been announced for the House.