The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban employment discrimination in the U.S. based on LGBT status, today passed easily in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, a first step on the way to a historic full vote on the Senate floor, according to the Washington Blade:
A Senate committee made history on Wednesday by approving for the first-time ever a trans-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and picking key Republican support from Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
Lawmakers on the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee reported out ENDA by a 15-7 vote after a short period of discussion. No amendments were offered except for a manager’s amendment, although Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he’ll reserve three that he planned for consideration on the Senate floor.
The new GOP support raises the likelihood that the measure will overcome the 60-vote threshold to end debate and pass the bill. Prospects for passing ENDA in the GOP-controlled House remain unclear, however.
“It is time for the full Senate to follow suit, for the House to vote on this measure without further delay, and for ENDA to become the law of the land,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who called today’s vote, “a significant step forward for civil rights, equality, and fairness.”
The White House also weighed in after the vote. ”The President has long supported an inclusive ENDA, which would enshrine into law strong, lasting and comprehensive protections against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. We look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of ENDA, and continue to urge the House to move forward on this bill that upholds America’s core values of fairness and equality,” said Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement.