The Senate already passed it with a strong bipartisan vote of approval. The President is ready to sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk. An overwhelming majority of voters support it. But because of partisan intransigence in the House, it's stuck there without a floor vote.
Yes, this will describe the state of the federal unemployment insurance (UI) extension in Congress once the Senate approves its bill. It already describes the current state of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) in Congress, as the Senate passed its bill last June. And it describes the current state of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) in Congress.
Even though ENDA passed the Senate 64-32 vote, with Republicans like Dean Heller supporting it, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has refused to allow ENDA a floor vote. Even as ENDA has attracted Republican support in the House, Boehner has refused to allow ENDA a floor vote. And even though ENDA enjoys strong public support, Boehner refuses to allow a floor vote for ENDA.
Why? Why can't ENDA have a floor vote? Because Cresent Hardy still doesn't understand the meaning of "segregation laws"? Because Rush Limbaugh doesn't want "queer cooties"? Because Pat Robertson has curious theories about the manifestation of Satan?
We know what's going on in that lower House of Congress. We know the 21st Century Know Nothings don't want to recognize LGBTQ civil rights. And we know House Republican "leaders" are still pandering to them, even as they continue their charade of "Republican rebranding".
Yesterday, House Democratic leaders unveiled their long awaited discharge petition for CIR. Today, at least some LGBTQ civil rights activists are wondering if they should start planning a discharge petition for ENDA. We keep hearing that there's likely majority support in the House for ENDA, just like it's assumed CIR and UI extension have majority support in the House. Yet despite these whip counts surfacing in the media, Speaker Boehner won't allow a vote on any of these bills. How much longer can this last?
Perhaps it's time to draw up another discharge petition. The "rebranding" song & dance routine is becoming awfully old & tired. We don't need any more "rebranding". We need a floor vote.