Know the Enemy: John Boehner: ‘No Way’ ENDA Will Pass This Year

From The Advocate:

The House speaker drew a hard line on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a first-time meeting with the LGBT Equality Caucus.

BY Daniel Reynolds
January 30 2014

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has no likelihood of passing this year, says John Boehner.

The House speaker told the LGBT Equality Caucus that there was “no way” ENDA would pass, during his first-ever meeting with the group of lawmakers last week.

Rep. Mark Takano, a gay congressman and cochair of the caucus, related the exchange Tuesday to the Washington Blade after President Obama’s State of the Union address.

“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.”

However, Takano classified the conference between the Republican speaker and the caucus, a group of over 100 lawmakers seeking LGBT equality, as “a historic sort of meeting.”

Boehner’s remarks reveal that he will most likely not schedule ENDA, which would provide antidiscrimination protections for LGBT workers nationwide, for a vote on the House floor in 2014. Last April the act had easily passed in the Senate with a vote of 64-32. But in November Boehner had voiced his belief that ENDA was “unnecessary.”

“I am opposed to discrimination of any kind in the workplace or anyplace else, but I think this legislation … is unnecessary and would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits,” he said in a press conference that month. “People are already protected in the workplace.”

Many LGBT activists and organizations have expressed disappointment that Obama had not announced direct action in his Tuesday address. The president has the power to issue an executive order that would offere the protections of ENDA to federal contractors, a group comprising roughly 20 of the American workforce. He had promised to make such an executive order during his 2008 presidential campaign.

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