October 28, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Carney still tight-lipped on ENDA strategy
Jay Carney, White House, gay news, Washington Blade

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was tight-lipped on the legislative strategy on Monday to pass ENDA (Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas).

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney held his cards close to his vest Monday on legislative strategy for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act upon news the bill is expected to soon come up for a Senate vote.

In response to questioning from the Washington Blade, Carney wouldn’t say whether President Obama would undertake the same public advocacy on ENDA that he’s engaged in with other initiatives that he supports, like comprehensive immigration reform, but insisted Obama wants to see the Senate approve the legislation.

“I think you know the president’s position on this,” Carney said. “He strongly believes that legislation like this needs to be passed and he wants to sign it, so we are very pleased with the progress we’ve seen as this legislation has moved in Congress. There’s obviously a lot of work still to be done, but he absolutely hopes and expects the Senate to act and pass this legislation and will encourage continued movement through the Congress.”

A number of senators have yet to publicly a position on the bill, including, on the Democratic side, Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).

Asked by the Blade whether Obama would reach out to undecided senators, including these Democrats, Carney again refrained from going into detail about Obama’s plans.

“Well, we want every senator to support it,” Carney said. “I’m not going to lay out our legislative strategy for you, but it is something the president believes strongly is in the interest of the country to see turned into law.”

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on the Senate floor that he’ll bring up ENDA before Thanksgiving. According to his office, a vote might happen as soon as next week. To pass the legislation, 60 votes are likely required to end a filibuster.

Carney was similarly not forthcoming about the strategy for ENDA when asked about White House plans for bill in July following the Senate, Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee’s approval of the legislation.

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

Washington Blade: Thanks, Jay. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is announcing right now that he’s going to bring up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for vote in the Senate before Thanksgiving. In the coming weeks, will we see the president make the same public advocacy on ENDA that he’s done on other initiatives that he supports like comprehensive immigration reform?

Jay Carney: Well, I think you know the president’s position on this. He strongly believes that legislation like this needs to be passed and he wants to sign it, so we are very pleased with the progress we’ve seen as this legislation has moved in Congress. There’s obviously a lot of work still to be done, but he absolutely hopes and expects the Senate to act and pass this legislation and will encourage continued movement through the Congress.

Washington Blade: There are a number of undecided senators on ENDA that on the Democratic side, as of this morning, included Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor and Joe Manchin. Will the president will reach out to these senators to make sure that they would support ENDA when it comes to the floor for a vote?

Carney: Well, we want every senator to support it. I’m not going to lay out our legislative strategy for you, but it is something the president believes strongly is in the interest of the country to see turned into law.

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

Comments are closed
© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.
Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin