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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Carney: No change in White House position on ENDA stopgap By Chris Johnson Via David ReadyToRumble Fleck (GetEqual)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (Blade file photo by Michael Key)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday the administration still holds the position that it won’t issue an executive order against LGBT workplace discrimination at this time — despite comments earlier this week from another spokesperson that the administration “hasn’t taken any options off the table.”
Under questioning from the Washington Blade, Carney said the White House position ”hasn’t changed from when we started talking about this last week” when the administration announced it won’t issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.
“[A]t this time we’re not pursuing an executive order,” Carney said. “I’m not going to speculate about executive orders that may or may not be pursued in the future. What I’m saying is right now we’re not. We discussed this pretty thoroughly last week, and the focus is on building a kind of support for a coalition behind passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that we hope would be to the kind of legislative action that would be especially effective in this case.”
On Monday, Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, told the Blade and other media outlets in response to inquiries on the executive order, “While the administration hasn’t taken any options off the table, our belief is that the time is right for a comprehensive legislative approach to achieve passage of ENDA.”
Carney said he wasn’t aware about the response, but maintained the White House position hasn’t changed from when administration officials told LGBT advocates at a high-level meeting last week the executive order won’t happen at this time.
“I don’t know about the comment that you’re referring to,” Carney said. “I can tell you that our position hasn’t changed from when we started talking about this last week.”
Asked whether the White House has misjudged the patience of LGBT groups and others, like the National Council of La Raza, who expressed disappointment and called on Obama to revisit the decision, Carney dodged and spoke again about the importance of legislation — comparing the path to achieve federal workplace protections to the path pursued for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.
“I think that a good example, again, is to look at the approach that was taken by this administration dealing with his commitment to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and working with Congress and working with the Pentagon to ensure that that came to pass,” Carney said. “There was criticism at the time that we weren’t taking the right approach. In the end, I think, it has been shown to have been the right approach, and an effective approach, to build support in ensuring its implementation within the military. Because of the action that were taken and the approach that was taken, the implementation itself has been supremely effective and simple.”
There’s one distinction between passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act at this time and passage of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in 2010. At the time, Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress. Now Republicans have control of the House and the Democratic majority in the Senate has been reduced.