Reid to Boehner: Vote on ENDA is ‘right thing to do’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) should allow a vote on a gay-rights bill because “it’s the right thing to do.” [WATCH VIDEO]

“Once again Republicans in Congress are out of step with Republicans in the rest of the country,” Reid said on the Senate floor Monday. “But there is a much more important reason to support this legislation — it’s the right thing to do.”

Reid’s comments came just hours before the Senate will vote on whether to proceed to the consideration of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which bans workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Earlier Monday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced his opposition the bill. Some Republicans have argued that the law would burden businesses by increasing discrimination lawsuits.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the bill earlier this year, but even if it passes in the Senate, it stands little chance of being taken up in the House. 

Pro-gay-rights groups have lobbied hard in the last few weeks to ensure there are enough Senate Republicans who will vote with Democrats to overcome a GOP filibuster.

Reid said it’s past time for the Senate to act.

“It is time for Congress to pass a federal law to ensure all Americans no matter where they are will not be afraid to go to work,” Reid said. “They deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity while they earn a living.”

If cloture on the motion to proceed is invoked Monday, the Senate is expected to debate ENDA for the rest of the week.

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