WASHINGTON — A discharge petition to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. House of Representatives appears to have stalled after only 190 Democrats have signed their names to it.
The petition, filed last week by openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) seeks to force a vote on a version of ENDA that contains a more narrowed religious exemption than the version passed by the U.S. Senate last year.
Despite the immediate growth in signatures for the discharge petition within the week it was filed, no one has penned their name this week as of Tuesday, and even the names of some ENDA co-sponsors aren’t on the document.
Four Democrats who co-sponsor ENDA and are able to vote on the floor — Reps. Linda Sanchez (Calif.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Peter Visclosky (Ind.), Jim Matheson (Utah) — haven’t signed the discharge petition.
On the other side of the aisle, none of the Republicans have signed the discharge petition, even the eight who co-sponsor ENDA: Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Jon Runyan (R-N.J.).
The discharge needs the backing of 218 lawmakers to force consideration in the House.
The Blade notes that although the discharge petition is the most visible effort in recent months to advance ENDA in the U.S., a more serious effort may be under consideration that isn’t as public, such as attaching the bill as an amendment in the Senate to the 2015 defense authorization bill, or another larger vehicle, in the lame-duck session of Congress. That bill would likely be the Senate version that contains a broader religious exemption.