February 29, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
Carney tight-lipped on exec order barring workplace bias

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to comment Wednesday about the status of an executive order that would require federal contractors to adopt LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies.

Under questioning from the Washington Blade, Carney said he had no information on whether President Obama would issue such an order.

“I unfortunately will give you the unsatisfying answer that I don’t have any information for you on any executive order that the president may or may not intend to issue in the coming months,” Carney said.

Because the measure is similar in its goal to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the directive has sometimes been referred to as the “ENDA” executive order, although the order would be more limited in scope because it only affects federal contractors. Multiple sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have told the Blade the Labor and Justice Departments have cleared such a measure.

Asked to confirm whether the order was green-lighted by those departments, Carney again deflected.

“I just don’t have any comment on executive orders that we may or may not be considering or actions that may or may not have been taken at lower levels within the administration,” Carney said.

He also declined to comment when asked to characterize discussion regarding the order among administration officials.

“I just don’t have any information for you on that, but I appreciate the question,” Carney said.

An online petition calling on President Obama to issue the executive at Change.org had 97,461 signatures as of Wednesday. The petition was created by Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, among the chief advocates of the proposal.

A transcript of the exchange between the Blade and Carney follows:

Washington Blade: Jay, I want to follow-up with you on this idea of President Obama issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to have LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies. Will the administration issue this order before the end of President Obama’s first term?

Jay Carney: Chris, I unfortunately will give you the unsatisfying answer that I don’t have any information for you on any executive order that the president may or may not intend to issue in the coming months.

Blade: Multiple sources have told me that this measure has been cleared by both the Labor and Justice departments, and it’s awaiting final action at the White House. Can you tell me at least if that measure is at that stage?

Carney: Again, I just don’t have any comment on executive orders that we may or may not be considering or actions that may or may not have been taken at lower levels within the administration.

Blade: Can you at least characterize from the podium what is the level of discussion of this executive order? Is it being discussed among officials at this time?

Carney: Again, I just don’t have — I’m sorry — I just don’t have any information for you on that, but I appreciate the question.

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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