July 10, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
What’s the White House strategy for passing ENDA?
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answers questions at the White House daily briefing

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is tight-lipped on White House strategy for ENDA (Blade file photo by Michael Key).

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was tight-lipped Wednesday on the White House strategy for passing ENDA as he praised the Senate for advancing the bill earlier in the day.

Under questioning from NBC News’ Kristen Welker, Carney wouldn’t disclose the plans for ENDA or say whether they’d be similar to what President Obama has done to push forward on immigration reform.

“If you talk about your strategy in advance, you’re not a very good strategist,” Carney said. “So we have supported it. We have made our support clear for it. We’ll continue to work with Congress in the effort to translate that support into law, to work to build on the bipartisan passage out of committee of ENDA legislation, and hopefully that process will result in a law that the president can sign.”

Carney also said the White House will continue to withhold the executive order prohibiting federal contractors from engaging in LGBT workplace discrimination even after the successful vote on ENDA in the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. Still, he acknowledged LGBT workers continue to face discrimination as ENDA progresses through Congress.

“We understand that and we have had the position we’ve had,” Carney said. “And that position — some criticism of that has been, well, there’s not going to be progress on ENDA, but in fact we did see progress today, and we welcome that.”

A partial transcript of the exchange between NBC News and Carney follows:

NBC News: And I want to go back to ENDA for a moment. The president is working on immigration reform, the student loan bill. Where does getting ENDA passed fall on his list of legislative priorities? How much urgency will he bring to it?

Jay Carney: We have long supported past — well, I mean, we have long supported comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation that is reflected in what the bill that passed the Senate committee today. And I think our support is helpful to that process, and we’ll continue to push it forward.

NBC News: Will we see the type of public statements that we saw, for example, today on immigration reform? What will he do specifically to get this — to the Senate?

Carney: Well, I don’t — again, as I said earlier, if you talk about your strategy in advance, you’re not a very good strategist. So we have supported it. We have made our support clear for it. We’ll continue to work with Congress in the effort to translate that support into law, to work to build on the bipartisan passage out of committee of ENDA legislation, and hopefully that process will result in a law tat the president can sign.

NBC News: And if the President believes in this, why not sign the executive order and put more pressure on Republicans to act?

Carney: We believe, and I’ve said this all along, that the president believes and we believe that as we’ve looked at this, that the best path forward was through comprehensive — more comprehensive legislation, and that is the path we’ve been on and which we believe has helped achieve the passage with bipartisan support through a committee today.

NBC News: The people who support the executive order and this legislation would say that in the meantime, while this is going through Congress —

Carney: I understand, and I’ve —

NBC News: — members of the LGBT community are being discriminated against. So —

Carney: Kristen, I know you’ve been here when I’ve answered the question at least a half dozen or a dozen times.

I mean, we understand that and we have had the position we’ve had. And that position — some criticism of that has been, well, there’s not going to be progress on ENDA, but in fact we did see progress today, and we welcome that. We’re a long way from the end here, but we welcome the progress we’ve seen today.

Watch the video here:

 

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

1 Comment
  • These Democrats will only bring up progressive legislation so long has it has no chance of passing. That would obviate the HRC as cash siphon from LGBT communities to the Democratic Party. Pelosi had the opportunity to bring ENDA to a vote when the Democrats had majorities in both houses but preferred to spend her time ignoring the grave crimes of the Bush administration so that Obama would get a pass on doubling down on that.

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