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'Discharge Petition' Floated as ENDA Solution as LGBT Advocates Plan 'Situation Room'

The gay co-author of the McCain-Feingold Act is suggesting that a discharge petition might be the solution to get the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed in the Republican-controlled House, the Washington Blade reports:

PotterTrevor Potter, a Republican attorney with Caplin & Drysdale who specializes in political law, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that a discharge petition is “the only way” to get ENDA passed while Republicans remain in control of the House.

“Given the House GOP leader’s opposition to ENDA, and resulting refusal to schedule it for a floor vote, the ONLY way to get it passed in the House is by way of a discharge petition,” Potter said via email. “If the petition gets close to 218 signatures, then the leadership will negotiate.”

Asked whether those words should be considered an endorsement of a discharge petition, Potter replied, “I’m not in the business of endorsing strategies — just commenting on them and analyzing them. I’m just a lawyer, not a political strategist.”

The signatures of 218 lawmakers would bring the bill to the floor regardless of the wishes of House leadership, which would require the wrangling of 40 more supporters to add to the bill's 178 current sponsors, the paper adds.

The suggestion comes as LGBT advocates are making plans for "Situation Room" strategy sessions, the Blade adds:

Freedom to Work is planning the first “situation room” meetings in September and intends to invite executive directors of other LGBT groups to attend — as well as members of the media — to discuss work on ENDA.

Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said his organization plans to rent the venue and hold a live webcast so the public can watch online and ask questions via Twitter.

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  1. Interesting. I didn't know Trevor Potter is gay. He has been a guest/legal consultant on The Colbert Report many times, helping Colbert set up his "SuperPAC," which was used as an educational tool about little oversight and regulation there is for these new political tools.

    When the IRS "scandal" happened Potter was there again, pointing out that you don't NEED to tell the IRS you're planning to claim that exemption, you just DO it. The groups claiming bias INVITED the scrutiny they received.

    Yet another gay man Colbert has worked closely with on his show, which is why I think he's probably the best media ally we have.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 17, 2013 11:00:46 AM


  2. Okay, but what is a "Discharge Petition"?

    Posted by: John P. | Jul 17, 2013 11:46:05 AM


  3. "WHO'S READY TO DISCHARGE?!?"

    (Perhaps the funniest line from Legally Blonde 2. Yes, I watched it. Yes, I'm embarrassed by that fact.)

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jul 17, 2013 12:26:51 PM


  4. A discharge petition is a way to get a bill to the floor for an up or down vote without approval from a committee or the House leadership. In other words, it'd bypass John Boehner, who is not likely to bring ENDA to the floor. It would require dozens of Republican defectors to sign on board, and if they do, they face punishment from the Republican leadership as well as the dreaded specter of a primary challenge. The tactic has rarely succeeded in history, and now that things are far more polarized, the chances of a successful discharge petition on ENDA is zero.

    Posted by: LetSodomRing | Jul 17, 2013 2:02:48 PM


  5. The Discharge Petition is the only way to get this bill through the house. The dysfunction of the Republican Majority has gotten to the point where only abortion, post office naming, and repeals of healthcare reform. I hope to see the gavel taken from the horrendous speaker John Boehner, hopefully in 2014 back to speaker Pelosi. Until then we can expect our rights to stall in the house has a extreme right wing pushes the house towards further dysfunction.

    Posted by: Redebbm | Jul 18, 2013 2:51:17 PM


  6. Good luck with that. There have been, what, maybe three successful discharge petitions in the last generation or so?

    Posted by: JamesInCA | Jul 19, 2013 4:53:15 PM


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