December 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Republican ENDA supporters beseech Boehner to allow vote
John Boehner, ENDA, United States House of Representatives, Republican Party, gay news, Washington Blade

House Speaker John Boehner won’t bring up ENDA (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key).

Six House Republicans who co-sponsor ENDA are calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to allow for the bill to come up for a vote before times runs out in the 113th Congress, possibly as an amendment to major defense spending legislation.

In a letter dated Dec. 3, the Republicans ask Boehner to allow a vote on ENDA “as part of any available legislative vehicle including the National Defense Authorization Act.”

“Here in the United States we value the quality of an individual’s work over who they are,” the letter states. “We already protect individuals from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. ENDA is necessary for fellow Americans who do not enjoy these same protections. In 29 states, an estimated four million workers can be legally fired because of their sexual orientation. Standing up for the individual liberty of workers is the right thing to do. No one should be denied a job, denied a promotion, or fired because of whom they are.”

Signers of letter are Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Charles Dent (R-Pa.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and Jon Runyan (R-N.J.).

Last year, the Senate passed a version of ENDA on a bipartisan basis by a 64-32 vote, but the House never brought up the measure for a vote and is set to adjourn on Dec. 11. It’s unlikely the bill will move after that time when Congress reconvenes given major election wins by Republican on Election Day.

The office of Boehner, who has previously said he sees “no basis or no need” for ENDA and reportedly said there’s “no way” the bill would come up for a vote this year, didn’t immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on the letter.

It’s hard to see how the efforts from these six House Republican will succeed. Capitol Hill sources close to ENDA have already told the Blade it’s unlikely to come up before Congress is out given the current political climate. The House Rules Committee was set on the same day the letter was sent to consider the defense authorization bill before it heads to the House floor.

Two House Republicans co-sponsors of ENDA didn’t sign the letter: Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). Their offices didn’t respond to a request to comment on why their names were absent. One of the two, Coffman, has previously objected to passing an LGBT measure for gay veterans benefits as part of unrelated larger legislation.

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said the letter “makes it clear that the ball is now in Speaker Boehner’s court” and his organization appreciates the support of ENDA’s House Republican co-sponsors.

“The Speaker has the power to reflect the consensus opinion of a majority of Americans that support workplace protections by immediately bringing ENDA to the floor for a vote,” Sainz said. “If he did that, ENDA would pass and be law by the end of the week. Let’s see what the Speaker does.”

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

2 Comments
  • These Conservative Legislators can "beseech" Boehner until the cows come home, but so long as they stand idly by and keep Boehner and the likes in power, then all of their "beseeching" is merely worthless words intended to serve only themselves. It's time to kick them out. Citizens are not pawns.

  • Republicans represent the plutocrats, but unfortunately for them, they are vastly outnumbered by the non-plutocrats who can vote. They are working to solve that problem by eliminating the voter fraud that demonstrably does not exist.

    The stated purpose of the Electoral College was to insulate the selection of the president from the popular vote. Senators were originally chosen by state legislators to create a sort of House of Lords. A person is qualified to vote in a federal election if they are qualified to vote for the lower house of their state legislature, which back then was limited to landowners except in New Jersey. None of those mechanisms work for them any more. They are loathe to spend money, but since money can buy power, they outspend their opponents in political campaigns.

    They have to find a fake issue to get us to vote against our own interests. One way is to invent a domestic enemy, then valiantly volunteer to save us from them. They can turn on a dime. "Family values" vanished overnight when Palin arrived on the scene with her out-of-wedlock granddaughter. They replaced Family Values with the Gay Marriage Apocalypse.

    Marriage and ENDA will reveal we aren't demons after all, and that leaves them without ballot-box bait. They need to switch to a new domestic enemy, but until they find one, we're it. When they find a new one, they will drop us. Overnight.

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