White House: No contradiction on ENDA

The White House on Thursday downplayed Vice President Biden's comment that there was "no downside" to an executive action that would ban workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered federal contractors, saying the vice president's comments did not contradict an administration focus on a legislative solution.

"I think the complete statement was, you know, that — what we're focused on: the big accomplishment, which would be the passage by both houses of Congress and the signing into law by the president of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Biden said he did not "see any downside" to an executive action along with the legislative push, but said "the way to do this is to pass ENDA. That ends it everywhere."

The White House has routinely sidestepped questions on the executive order issue, saying they preferred Congress to pass a bill. But Biden's comment prompted fresh questions about whether the administration was open to acting unilaterally.

On Thursday, Carney said there was "no doubt that the legislation would be a far greater accomplishment and more broadly applied, and that is why we continue to push the House to follow the Senate's lead and pass that."

"So I don't have any updates on suggested or proposed executive orders," he continued. "What I can tell you is that we still call on Congress, the House, to follow the Senate's lead and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act."

He also reiterated that he did not "engage in discussion about speculative executive orders."

"I try not engage in speculation about any executive action the president may or may not take," he said. "What I can tell you is that there is legislation on Capitol Hill that we strongly support and would like to see passed by the House."

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