October 31, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Booker sworn-in ahead of ENDA Senate vote
Cory Booker, United States Senate, New Jersey, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) takes the oath of office administered by Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber on Oct. 31. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Supporters of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act officially claimed a new ally in the Senate on Thursday as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) took the oath of office just after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told the Washington Blade a cloture vote on ENDA will take place Monday night.

Asked by the Blade on Capitol Hill on when he would file cloture on ENDA, Reid said the Senate will “have the vote Monday night.”

Adam Jentleson, a Reid spokesperson, said he hasn’t a chance to speak with his boss recently about exact timing for filing cloture, but based on Reid’s statement said he “would have to file it tonight.”

By filing cloture on the bill, Reid starts for the time period for when a vote on cloture will take place to enable the bill to move to the floor. After filing for cloture, the vote will take place after an intervening day and one hour pass. For a successful vote on cloture, 60 votes are required in the Senate.

After cloture is invoked, up to 30 hours of debate can take place before a vote happens on final passage, which requires a simple majority. But the vote for final passage could take place sooner if both parties agree to give up the time.

During a taped interview on The Rachel Maddow Show that aired Wednesday, Reid expressed confidence there would be enough votes to invoke cloture on ENDA. Noting that all 55 Democrats are on board, Reid predicted “we’re going to get a least five Republicans” to reach 60 votes.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, told the Blade on Thursday he thinks cloture will be filed on ENDA on later in the day.

But Harkin also predicted that amendments would be proposed for ENDA. Asked if he was expecting amendments for the bill, Harkin replied, “There’ll be some amendments, yeah.” Harkin added he doesn’t know what the nature of the amendments will be.

Just after his swearing-in ceremony in the Senate chamber, Booker was optimistic that he would become the 55th sponsor of ENDA before the vote would take place. Asked by the Blade just before the re-enactment of his swearing-in ceremony whether he’ll co-sponsor ENDA, Booker replied, “I hope so. I hope so, yes.”

There were two swearing-in ceremonies for the New Jersey Democrat on Thursday. The official one first took place at noon in the Senate chamber, and an unofficial ceremony where the press was invited took place in the Old Senate Chamber. Vice President Joseph Biden conducted the swearing-in at both ceremonies.

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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