"If the president decides to do it, I’d be in favor of it," Reid told The Huffington Post, in the halls of the Capitol.That's far more than the couple hundred thousand who will get raises under the president's minimum wage order. The situations are so similar: John Boehner is standing in the way of a House vote on bills that might well pass, and the president has the power to take action that would cover at least some workers. In fact, ENDA actually has passed the Senate. With Harry Reid joining House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in saying that Obama should do what he can to bypass Congress on this issue, it's time.
A number of Democratic leaders think Obama should take action, since related legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, has hit a wall in the House of Representatives, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) says he won't give it a vote. The White House argues that executive action wouldn't go far enough, since Obama only has the ability to ban discrimination among government contractors, whereas legislation would apply to all employers.
Still, an executive order could protect as many as 16 million workers.
When President Barack Obama said he'd sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers, it raised the question of why he wasn't ordering another expansion of protections for the same group of workers: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The president had in the past explained that he wanted Congress to act on ENDA rather than taking executive action—but if he was bypassing Congress on minimum wage where he could, why not on protections for LGBT workers? Now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has given Obama the go-ahead to do just that:
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