June 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Pelosi: No ENDA vote until after ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday said that a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act wouldn’t take place until Congress completes legislative action on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

During her weekly press conference, Pelosi said in response to a Blade inquiry on ENDA’s prospects that lawmakers “still have to finish ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”

Referencing the successful House vote May 27 to attach repeal to Defense Department budget legislation, she said, “And now, of course, we’ll go — after the bill passes in the Senate — we’ll go to conference. But our work is not finished in that regard, so one thing at a time.”

A Democratic leadership aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, later affirmed that ENDA would not see a vote until work on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is complete.

“It’s very important that we finish ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ before we move on to ENDA,” the source said. “We must ensure the community remains focused on getting [‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’] done and maintaining strong pressure to get the Defense bill done in light of filibuster threats in the Senate. Then we can move on to continuing to assess the votes on ENDA.”

Supporters of ENDA have been pushing Pelosi to move forward with the legislation. At the same time, others have been concerned about a legislative maneuver known as the motion to recommit, which could derail the measure.

Pelosi called ENDA a “personal priority,” but said the House took up “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because bringing the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill to the floor presented an opportunity for repeal.

“But because the defense bill came up now, we did ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ first,” she said. “But we want to finish that.”

It could take several months for Congress to finish legislative action on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The full Senate has yet to vote on the defense authorization bill, and differences in the House and Senate versions would have to be hammered out in conference committee before the measure is sent to President Obama’s desk.

Still, Pelosi said, “we’re very proud” of the House vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the House, calling it a “historic” action.

She chided Republicans for voting against the legislation and said she’s “disappointed” only five voted for the repeal measure and nine voted for the defense bill as a whole when it came to the floor.

“It’s nothing to take for granted in terms of nine Republicans voted for the defense authorization bill,” she said. “Five Republicans voted for the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Only four more voted for the [Department of Defense] bill, which is something they usually vote for 100 percent.”

The exchange between the Blade and Pelosi follows:

Blade: Madame Speaker, a question on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. How confident are you that if that measure came to the floor there would be enough votes for passage and to overcome a motion to recommit?

Pelosi: Well, first of all, we still have to finish “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We were able to pass the bill with a 40-vote majority in the House of Representatives last Thursday before the break. We’re very proud of that vote.

I was disappointed, however, the next day, when the full measure came to the floor to pass the defense authorization bill. Only nine Republicans voted to pass the defense bill. This is historic. Republicans are now voting against the defense authorization bill — only nine did — because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was in the bill.

And now, of course, we’ll go — after the bill passes in the Senate — we’ll go to conference. But our work is not finished in that regard, so one thing at a time.

ENDA is personal priority for me, and I [understand] the focus for that, but because the defense bill came up now, we did “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” first. But we want to finish that.

It’s nothing to take for granted in terms of nine Republicans voted for the defense authorization bill. Five Republicans voted for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Only four more voted for the DOD bill, which is something they usually vote for 100 percent.

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

  • Sigh. More excuses, more delays, it’s just the same old story we hear every time around. Does anyone really believe this BS anymore?

    • This is an outrage! ENDA is now being held hostage because of DADT?! The prospect of ENDA getting approved by both chambers of Congress diminishes with the November elections likely resulting in more ENDA opponents being elected! Can’t Pelosi and the Democrats chew gum and walk at the same time? Why should one vote process have to be completed to vote on another!? This makes me seriously question Pelosi’s commitment to the community in advancing its legeslation!

      Why the hell should ENDA have to wait months and not years again for a simple vote because of stupid DADT which only helps a fraction of us who are part of the military while the majority of us work in the public sector? Obama won’t be President forever!! If we get an a-hole like McCain to replace him at some point then we get nowhere even if Congress does pass it one day!

      Meanwhile what does the gay leadership do? Just nod it’s head okay with a stupid grin while being rammed up the rear by the damn no results Democratic Party. The GOP is worse.

      ENDA should have been the priority for a vote over DADT yet DADT gets more publicity and more push than ENDA yet ENDA would benefit more people! Wake up Stupid!

  • Another lame excuse for not doing the right thing.

  • Can congress not do more than one thing at a time? Kind of kicked your own butt there Polosi. Bahahahaha!

  • that’s Pelosi! geeeze……………

  • Unfortunately, the so-called “DADT Compromise” is just a charade. It is simply intended to make us believe they “did their best.” It won’t pass. Democrats will blame Republicans, but they’ll both kill it.

    This was the Gay Inc. “brilliant” plan to repeal before the November Massacre. I think everyone knows it won’t pass, but it will help fundraising efforts – for all parties involved.

    Eventually, we need to see through this and stop wasting our time, money and energy on a “political solution.” There won’t be until we get the people – they “own” the politicians.

    • I think the only solution is to win our rights at the SCOTUS. I haven’t given money to any of those politicos for over 5 years and won’t do so now. They are worthles POS.

  • It figures, while the NJ LGBT bi-partisan activists were working on getting Republican moderates to support and defend an inclusive ENDA at Jersey Pride last Sunday, HRC was collecting $ and only getting signatures for DADT repeal which was a waste since both our NJ Senators are very much for repeal. So much for “smart and efficient” activism! What a waste… HRC is only interested in $$, not in getting things done!

  • News Flash for Pelosi, Obama & the Dems in Congress – Not voting on ENDA and blowing off the other Pro-LGBT bills in Congress is a sure fire way to lose the support of the LGBT Community! Since the Dems can’t find the time to vote on our bills and aren’t willing to keep their promises to our community, I think we should cut them off until they do. Until Pelosi, the Obama, and the Dems in Congress vote on our bills, (hopefully passing them, but at least voting on them) I say we shouldn’t give them any money, support or votes.

    • I don’t know where you live, but where I live, Democrats have given us state employment nondiscrimination, hate crimes protections, civil unions, and even marriage equality two times, only to be vetoed by the republican governator, and then overturned by the voters. The republicans have opposed everything, while the democrats have given us everything we have asked for so far, including openly gay legislators and officials. My State Senator is gay, as is my county DA., and my US representative and US senators are both 100% gay supportive. I voted for Harvey in ’77 and have voted for many gay and gay friendly officials since then. So don’t give up. Voting for the lesser of two evils is always better than letting the worse evil win and harm us.

  • Vote for Obama and everything will change! except LGBT issues. Make some grumblings about DADT and that’ll satisfy the gays. This is just the S.S.D.D. Enough is enough. Aren’t you tired of being treated like and idiot? It might as well be the 60’s. Lyndon Johnson passed more civil rights legislation than any other President and conveniently left out the legalization of homosexuality. Pelosi is too simple minded to chew gum and walk.

  • The Democrats are full of empty promises. DADT is important but really affects very few in the GLBT community and does nothing for Trans folks. ENDA is what needs to pass and should be the #1 priority and Congress and Obama have done little or nothing to making employment discrimination against GLBT past history. Joining the military is a choice. Having a job to put food on the table and health insurance is a necessity to survive.
    Personally, I will not vote for any party. I will certainly not vote Republican but neither will I blindly vote Democratic assuming they are the lesser evil. I will no longer donate or support the Democratic Party until ENDA passes. I will only vote for people who strongly support our community by their efforts and votes. I’m pretty much under the impression that incumbents need to be thrown out. They are all bought and paid for by big business and only vote based on poll numbers rather than what is morally right. Until we have campaign finance reform, it will be politics as usual.

  • I would much rather have someone who preaches tolerance and equality even if he does little to make it happen over someone who preaches intolerance and discrimination. Fostering a culture of acceptance requires having people who are visible demonstrating that acceptance through what they say and do. Having haters in positions of power on the other hand, fosters a culture of prejudice and discrimination, and we have had enough of that. We must make sure the haters don’t have the power to harm us any more than they already have. So support those who support us, and oppose those who oppose us. Don’t punish our supporters and thereby help our opponents.

  • DADT harms all gay people, not just those in the service. While it punishes all gay service members by making them hide the most important relationships in their lives, it also writes prejudice and discrimination into the law, which stigmatizes and marginalizes all gay people by telling the world that punishment of gay people is both acceptable and necessary. That social norm is used as justification for punishment in a wide variety of ways, including other discriminatory laws, hate crimes, and employment discrimination. We will never end discrimination and prejudice as long as the federal government continues to use our tax dollars to teach prejudice and discrimination not only to new service members, but to the entire world. The official position of the US government, that gay people should be punished simply for being gay, harms us all and must be reversed.

  • All the comments about Pelosi I’m sorry to say display frustration that is self defeating. I’m sorry I cant magically toss the homophobic republicans into the lake of fire they deserve, but there is a path to ending DADT, which will not only protect gay soldiers and yes our country, but also help protect the military from religious haters who have targetted it, the likes of focus on the family, the hate group per the Southern Poverty Law center – The so called Family research council. And just think – all those good christian boys from the southern bible belt jerk off towns who join the army – will discover that some of the people with whom they live, and mutually trust with their lives, are gay. And a whole another demographic group of the younger generation, brought up in hatefilled churches will discover emotionally that gay people are good people,and their churches are full of dog diarrhea.

    Enda’s important also. But also realize that Pelosi – I’ve met her briefly, can only do so much and she is speaker of the House because she really really yes amazingly understands the politics of the hill.

    Ending DADT is like a silver bullet for reducing homophobia in the worst parts of the country. Enda is great also, but the world isn’t perfect, and thats life.

    BTW, pls be a little embarrassed – before you bitch were you at the DADT protests at the white house? Were you in the (only) hundreds of people who did the rounds of the capital lobbying to end DADT?

    Bitching makes one feel better, but action will make you feel a lot better. Its a journey, I’ve really only been invovled since 2004 politically,and I’m still learning.

    But we need your help too…………….

    If I have any regrets in supporting the gay community, eg to the tune of about $80000 (no shit) over the last 5 yrs or so, it is seeing that the community hasn’t yet begun to seriously understand what the possibilities are. And how politics works.

    But it works better when you have more people………

  • Pelosi will use any excuse to block ENDA from becoming law. She is determined to allow her corporate donors to continue to discriminate against us.

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