John Boehner Hub




Activist Claims DNC Chair Discouraged Dems from Urging Obama to Issue 'ENDA' Executive Order

A prominent activist is accusing DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL, pictured) of discouraging Democratic lawmakers from signing a letter asking President Obama to issue an executive order that would ban workplace discrimination against LGBT people, the Washington Blade reports.

Wasserman-schultzHouse Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly said he will not allow a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which passed the Senate for the first time this year, and activists are growing impatient.

Said Paul Yandura, political director for gay philanthropist Jonathan Lewis, to the Blade:

"I was told personally by two members that she was tamping down on public calls for the president to make good on his promise — this was last year when the issue was really getting hot. She is most likely doing the same still," adding, "I think she doesn’t want to embarrass the president, and still doesn’t want to embarrass the president, because it is an embarrassment that he still hasn’t done it. We’re now coming down to the end of the second term, and if they don’t get moving on it, it’ll never even get implemented."

Wasserman Schultz's spokesperwon Mara Sloan called Yandura's assertions a "bald-faced lie," adding:

"The congresswoman believes the most effective way to ensure equal rights for LGBT Americans in the workplace is through passing comprehensive non-discrimination legislation. The congresswoman regularly speaks to the administration about issues important to the LGBT community, and will continue to be a fierce advocate for full equality."

Yandura said his claims are based on things he heard while collecting signatures for a 2013 letter urging Obama to issue the order.

More at the Blade....

WILL REPUBLICANS BE THE KEY TO ENDA?

SingerIn related news, a group of wealthy Republicans and former GOP lawmakers are joining an HRC-led campaign to push the House to take a vote on ENDA, USA Today reports:

"America is a place where the freedom to be who you are shouldn't be a barrier to your ability to get a job and provide for your family," said Paul Singer (pictured), a billionaire hedge fund founder and big Republican donor. Singer is putting $375,000 toward the push for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. "In the workplace, employees should be judged on their merit and hard work and not on aspects that are irrelevant to their performance."

Fellow billionaire and GOP donor Seth Klarman also donated $375,000 to the campaign spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights lobby. HRC is putting up an additional $1.3 million in the effort to get 218 House lawmakers — a majority of the chamber — on record in support of ENDA.

The campaign plans to go after 48 persuadable House Republicans and gain their support for the bill:

If the group can get 218 lawmakers on public record in support of the legislation, they say House GOP leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, may have to rethink their decision not to vote this year.

Boehner told members of the LGBT caucus at an historic first meeting earlier this year that ENDA had no chances of seeing a vote in 2014.


Boehner Tells LGBT Caucus There's 'No Way' ENDA Will Get a Vote in 2014

House Speaker John Boehner told members of the LGBT Equality Caucus last week at a historic first meeting that the Employment Non-Discrimination act had no chances of seeing a vote in 2014, the Washington Blade reports.

BoehnerThe information was relayed to the Blade through Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA):

“A number of us did meet with, actually the caucus met with Speaker Boehner,” Takano said. “He said no way was it going to get done in this session.”

Calling the discussion between Boehner and the lawmakers “a historic sort of meeting,” Takano later clarified he was referring to the LGBT Equality Caucus, a 113-member group of lawmakers committed to advancing LGBT rights, and said the meeting took place “a few days ago” or last week.

A “session” of Congress is equivalent to one of the two years in which a particular Congress meets before a new Congress is seated, so Takano’s account of the meeting indicates ENDA won’t see a House vote in 2014.

Details on exactly who attended the meeting or its exact date were not disclosed.

LGBT advocates had been pushing for a mention of the legislation from President Obama in his State of the Union address but that did not happen.

Meanwhile, the White House says that despite the lack of a mention ENDA is still a priority, MetroWeekly reports:

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to an event in Pittsburgh, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama's position on LGBT-rights is "crystal clear."

"When it comes to the Employment Non-discrimination Act, he is fiercely supportive of that effort, enormously gratified by the fact the Senate took action and very hopeful that the House will follow suit. Because as I've said many times, reflecting his opinion, members of the House who block this are being left at the station as the train moves forward on what would obviously be an America where equal rights are extended to all Americans," Carney said. "So I think his record on LGBT rights is crystal-clear, his position is crystal-clear, and he continues to press Congress to take action on ENDA."

The other option would be to issue an executive order, which the President appears to be reluctant to do.


Congressional Hispanic Caucus Votes to Endorse ENDA

A resolution proposed by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was approved by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday. The Washington Blade reports:

Rep. Linda SanchezIn a statement, Sanchez, vice chair of the caucus, called ENDA "an important, long overdue civil rights law."

"Equality shouldn't wait," Sanchez said. "We need to break down the barriers of intolerance and bigotry that have kept too many talented people out of the workplace. The vast majority of Americans believe that job performance is what should determine whether you get hired, fired or promoted. It's time for the House to pass ENDA and end workplace discrimination."

House aides said two-thirds of the caucus voted to endorse ENDA, but wouldn't disclose the way each of the 26 members of the caucus voted. According to aides, a majority vote is necessary for approval.

Freedom to Work, the only LGBT advocacy organization working exclusively to end anti-gay employment discrimination, praised the caucus's decision. Said president Tico Almeida:

"Freedom to Work applauds the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for its tremendous support for LGBT workplace fairness, and especially Rep. Linda Sanchez with whom we worked on the recent ENDA field hearing in Los Angeles to delve into the findings of the 'Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color' report by the Movement Advancement Project and a coalition of civil rights organizations," Almeida said.

ENDA received bipartisan approval in the Senate earlier this month and, more recently, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers urged Speaker John Boehner to allow a floor vote for ENDA. Boehner, however, remains stubbornly unwilling to allow the vote to take place, saying that "people are already protected in the workplace" and that ENDA would result in frivolous lawsuits.


Boehner on Whether He Believes the GOP Should Support Gay Candidates: 'I Do' — VIDEO

Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner was asked about a Politico story today reporting that Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) was campaigning for the party to withhold funds for openly gay Republican candidates, specifically Richard Tisei and Carl DeMaio.

Boehner was asked by CNN's Dana Bash whether he believes the GOP should support them.

"I do," replied Boehner. "I do."

The question followed remarks in which Boehner said he felt the party needed to me "more sensitive".

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Boehner on Whether He Believes the GOP Should Support Gay Candidates: 'I Do' — VIDEO" »


Report: Majority in Every Congressional District Supports Law Against Anti-Gay Employment Discrimination

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 2.00.36 PM

In a historic 64-32 vote, the Senate this month approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban discrimination in hiring and firing based on sexual orientation or gender identity, sending the bill to the House, where it's destined to languish--at least as long as John Boehner is Speaker of the House.

But a new report from the Williams Institute--a legal research and policy think tank at UCLA Law School--demonstrates that if House members voted according to their constituencies' beliefs, ENDA might very well pass unanimously:

A majority of Americans in every U.S. congressional district support laws that protect against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, such as the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed last week by the U.S. Senate . . .

When a similar bill was considered in 2007, 183 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against it, even though a majority of their constituents supported the policy. The current ENDA now awaits consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives, and research confirms that ENDA would pass if all members followed their constituents.

A very interesting interactive graphic comparing 2007 to 2013 can be found HERE on the Williams Institute's website.

One rather big caveat worth mentioning in terms of the Williams Institute report: the public opinion data used by the center looked only at laws that would prevent employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The most recent version of ENDA includes language providing protections for gender identity as well--protections that were initially included but eventually stripped from the unsuccessful 2007 bill.  If polled on sexual orientation and gender identity protections, some Americans' responses would undoubtedly be different.

Nevertheless, the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog took a similar look at state-by-state opinion polls before the Senate voted on ENDA, and came to the same conclusions as the Williams Institute:

Will ENDA receive the necessary votes? If senators listened to their constituents, the bill would pass overwhelmingly. Nearly all recent opinion polls indicate that a large majority of the American public — more than 70 percent — supports efforts to make employment discrimination against gay men and and lesbians illegal. Of course, these national numbers are not what the senators are likely to care about. However, when we use national polls to estimate opinion by state, we find that majorities in all 50 states support ENDA-like legislation (note that in 1996, majorities in only 36 states supported ENDA). Today, public support ranges from a low of 63 percent in Mississippi to a high of 81 percent in Massachusetts.

Of course, 32 senators did in fact end up voting against the majority of their constituents that supports employment discrimination protections for LGBT Americans, so it's a pipe dream to think that the Williams Institute report means anything different will happen in the House.  Still, it's worth pointing out that, on this issue at least, Republican members of Congress are pretty far out of step with the very citizens they're representing.

Check out a district-by-district map of the U.S. with the results of the 2007 ENDA vote, AFTER THE JUMP, via the Williams Institute. The 2013 version of the map can be found at the beginning of this post.

Continue reading "Report: Majority in Every Congressional District Supports Law Against Anti-Gay Employment Discrimination" »


House Speaker John Boehner Secures Meeting Room for Anti-Gay Group Barred from Senate by Mark Kirk

This morning we reported that Senator Mark Kirk had barred  the virulently anti-gay World Congress of Families from meeting in the Senate's Dirksen office building, but apparently the group has found a safe haven at a House office building thanks to Speaker John Boehner, Buzzfeed reports:

BoehnerWorld Congress of Families president Allan Carlson praised Boehner’s intervention at in opening remarks at the event, which is focusing on what “pro-family legislators” can learn from foreign laws like Russia’s ban on “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships to minors.”

“At least in the House of Representatives people have not succumbed to the great fear” of LGBT activists, Carlson said, likening the situation to developments in Germany, France, and Italy as fascism took hold of Europe. “A great fear seems to be descending over what has been called the world’s greatest deliberative body … ideas are being suppressed, debate is being shut off, and minds are being closed.”


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged