ENDA Hearing Set For Sept. 23rd

By CHRIS JOHNSON, Washington BladeSep 14 2009, 1:38 PM

A congressional committee is set to hear testimony on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act later this month, although many details about the hearing are not yet final.

The House Education & Labor Committee will hear testimony on ENDA on Sept. 23, according to committee spokesperson Aaron Albright. He said witnesses had not yet been finalized for the hearing and a subsequent markup for the legislation hasn't been scheduled.

Albright said the hearing "will be the first step in the legislative process" toward passing ENDA.
"It's to get our members up to speed on the issues, what's going on out in the states, what some state laws are doing about it, and some good stories about companies who've embraced diversity — and some not-so-good stories," he said.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who's gay and a chief sponsor of ENDA, said he believes that House has the votes to pass the legislation this fall and he's expecting some Republican votes in favor of the bill.

Frank said passage would be more difficult in the Senate, though, where 60 votes are required to overcome a filibuster.

"[The Democrats] have majorities in the Senate right now, [but] it's not clear that we have 60, given the way the Republicans have been using the filibuster," Frank said. "The critical job for people who want to get … ENDA adopted is to lobby senators."