Transcript: Sen. Chuck Schumer’s remarks on the passage of ENDA – press briefing Nov. 7, 2013

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) on the Senate’s passage of S. 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA), which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 64 to 32. The press briefing was held on Nov. 7, 2013:

…I’d like to thank of course Chairman [Tom] Harkin, Sen. [Jeff] Merkley, and Sen. [Tammy] Baldwin, who spearheaded this great, great passage today. And of course, Sen. Kennedy is looking down from heaven and smiling. We hope we’ll give him more to smile about in the next few months.

Here’s the problem. The House of Representatives Speaker Boehner has already said he won’t give in to a vote.

Everyone talks about gridlock in Washington. It rests with one man: Speaker [John] Boehner. That’s the problem.

The problem is the House of Representatives has become a legislative black hole. It’s the broken cog in our governmental wheel.

Nearly every time the Senate passes a bill, it’s like we’re banishing the issue to a faraway jail, and Speaker Boehner’s the prison warden. We hope and pray that ENDA won’t suffer the same fate.

But if the House of Representatives does insist on going down this road, they’ll be sending their party straight to oblivion. They’ve sat on a farm bill. They’ve sat on an immigration bill. They’ve sat on issue after issue.

So the House seems to be the place where bipartisan Senate legislation goes to die.

We get Republican votes here in the Senate… Ten courageous votes today…Why can’t the House do the same thing?

Republicans in the House oppose bipartisan popular bills at their own peril, and they alienate another key block of voters every single time they do it. They’ve alienated Hispanics, young people, women, the LGBT community, the rural community. Soon, there isn’t going to be anybody left.

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