Few voters would be surprised to learn Speaker John Boehner came out against a Senate bill banning discrimination against LGBT employees For Republicans, that’s a problem.
On Monday night, the Senate voted to open debate on The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, overcoming a filibuster with 61 votes thanks to support from a handful of Republicans. Not a single Republican Senator delivered a speech opposing its passage. President Obama is campaigning for the bill in the run up to the final vote, which is expected later this week.
Politically, voting “yes” should be a no-brainer. While support for gay marriage only recently crossed into majority backing, the margin is overwhelming for workplace protection. Republican pollster Alex Lundry found 68% of respondents supported its passage in September. Not only that, about to 8 in 10 respondents assumed incorrectly that such anti-discrimination measures were already in place. Both these results track closely with an earlier poll by the liberal Center for American Progress in 2011.
But majority support, even overwhelming majority support, isn’t good enough for the House GOP on ENDA. Just as it isn’t good enough on immigration or keeping the government funded without incident.
“The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said in a statement.
While not an entirely new position for Boehner, who has claimed in the past that existing employment laws provide sufficient protection for LGBT Americans, his renewed criticism means ENDA will likely not get a vote in the House this year.
Continuing their full-court press offensive just days before $85 billion in automatic cuts to federal spending kicks in, senior administration officials are highlighting the impact of the cuts on individual states.
The officials’ dire warnings come on the heels of more Republican criticism of President Obama and his administration’s handling of the so-called sequester; the officials took the opportunity to again slam Republicans for refusing to compromise by including new revenue in a sequester replacement.
“It’s important to understand,” White House political director Dan Pfeiffer said, that the sequester is “going into effect because Republicans are choosing for it to go into effect.”
“Republicans are making a policy choice that these cuts are better for the economy than eliminating loopholes that benefit the wealthy,” he explained. “Hopefully they’ll change their mind in the next seven days.”
House Speaker John Boehner‘s spokesman Michael Steel responded in an email saying, “Republicans in the House have voted – twice – to replace President Obama’s sequester with smarter spending cuts. The White House needs to spend less time explaining to the press how bad the sequester will be and more time actually working to stop it.” FULL ARTICLE