November 11, 2010 | by Chris Johnson
Source denies report on ENDA vote in lame duck (updated)

An informed source is denying a recent media report saying U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the lame duck session of Congress.

A gay rights activist with the connections to the speaker’s office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a blog posting in Politico on Thursday reporting that Pelosi wants a vote on ENDA before lawmakers adjourn for the year is “not true.”

“The speaker brought it up during a leadership call in a list of unfinished bills, and all of the sudden, it got leaked out as she is going to bring this to a vote by the end of the year,” the activist said. “Whoever did leak that took it completely out of context.”

The activist said the speaker didn’t mention “anything else that would have implied she was foretelling a vote by the end of the session.”

Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, said “no decisions” have been made on any legislative items for lame duck.

Similarly, Aaron Albright, spokesperson for the House Education & Labor Committee, where ENDA currently sits, said nothing has been scheduled for the committee and “no decisions on the legislative agenda for the lame [duck] have been made.”

In the blog posting, Politico reports that Pelosi “talked about wanting to do ENDA” while on leadership conference call on Thursday. Additionally, Politico reports that while she “didn’t set a timeline,” she “appears to want a vote before the lame-duck session ends.”

The legislation, which is pending before committee in both the House and the Senate, would bar job discrimination against LGBT people in most situations in the public and private workforce.

Pelosi has previously said the House wouldn’t vote on ENDA until legislative action is complete on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“She’s been very, very, very, very clear that ['Don't Ask, Don't Tell'] needs to be finished before she’ll schedule a vote on ENDA,” the activist said. “I think this is being misconstrued.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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