A bill meant to establish protections for LGBT Americans against employment discrimination was officially killed by the House Rules Committee Tuesday.
Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as an amendment to the annual defense spending bill, on behalf of sponsor Jared Polis of Colorado, the Washington Blade reports.
The committee, made up of nine Republicans and four Democrats, killed ENDA with a 7-3 vote. LGBT-supportive Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is a member of the committee and a cosponsor of ENDA, was not present at the committee session. Polis is also a member of the committee, but was not present during the vote.
The eight House Republicans who cosponsored ENDA worked with Freedom to Work to promote passing the measure as part of the defense bill. A group of Republicans also sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, urging a vote on ENDA as part of the defense legislation. Had the committee approved, ENDA would have been attached to the defense bill and put up for a vote on the House floor.
Even though the Senate passed its version of the bill 64-32 last year, Republican House Speaker John Boehner has previously said that ENDA had no likelihood of passing during this session. "I am opposed to discrimination of any kind in the workplace or anyplace else, but I think this legislation ... is unnecessary and would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits," he said in a press conference in 2013, "People are already protected in the workplace."
A version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been introduced to every congressional session but one in the last four decades.