Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NTAC ACTION ALERT: Urge Senators to Pass ENDA Out of Committee Now!

National Trans Advocacy Coalition (NTAC)
Contact: Vanessa Edwards Foster

ACTION ALERT: Urge Senators to Pass ENDA Out of Committee Now!

As time is ticking away on this session of Congress, we still have no ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act) bill active in process in the House of Representatives. The window of opportunity to bring a bill up for vote is extremely tight now, with only three and a half months before the congressional summer break. After that break, it’ll be peak re-election campaign season for most on Capitol Hill.

Translated, it means nothing will be done on ENDA if it has not passed both houses of Congress before the end of July. We lose ENDA’s window of opportunity completely.

With Rep. Barney Frank continuing to tamper with the original bill language, it’s anyone’s guess what the ENDA bill’s end result will be. It’s obvious that the House will not be leaders on this.

Moreover, the silence and lack of clear direction from our community’s political leadership in Washington is not a good sign.

We must begin contacting the Senate and requesting them to lead on this effort, and need to do so immediately. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is author and lead sponsor of ENDA (Senate bill S. 1584), and we have adequate language on the Senate bill as it currently stands [you can view the bill at] We have 44 sponsors in all, including twelve of the 23 senators on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee it’s assigned to.

Special focus on specific senators on committee who could be potential supporters: Kay Hagan (D-NC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and maybe a straying Orrin Hatch (R-UT) or Judd Gregg (R-NH).

Task One:
We need everyone to contact the senators who sit on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee to bring this bill onto the calendar for mark-up and committee vote. Additionally make it known that you want this bill to proceed in its current form with no changes. Express that you are against having the language watered-down on any of the provisions in it. When you write to them, if you were formerly a resident of their state then let them know you are a former constituent and add that you are even considering moving back there in the near future (they don’t need to know whether or not that will eventually occur).

If the particular senate office contact asks by phone if you are a constituent, reply to them that as this is a committee vote, not every state has representation on each committee and that you want this bill brought to the floor in order to ensure your elected senator has the opportunity to weigh in on this bill. (That’s all they need to know for now.)

Task Two: If you’re a constituent of any senators not on this committee (see list of committee senators below), contact them and ask for their support on S.1584. Additionally ask if they would write a “Dear Colleague” letter or personally contact their colleagues on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee to express their support and encourage them to move this bill without amendment to the Senate Floor.

Task Three:
Once you’ve completed this, contact all your friends to do likewise, and remind them how vital this bill is for the LGB and especially T community!

List of Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Senators:

US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions -

Democrats by Rank
Tom Harkin (IA) // DC office: (202) 224-3254 // // Iowa: 515-284-4574
Christopher Dodd (CT) // DC office: (202) 224-2823 // Fax: (202) 224-1083 // CT office: 860-258-6940
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD) // DC office: (202) 224-4654 // Baltimore office: (410) 962-4510
Jeff Bingaman (NM) // DC office: (202) 224-5521 // NM phone: 505-346-6601
Patty Murray (WA) // DC office: (202) 224-2621 // Fax: (202) 224-0238 // Seattle office: (206) 553-5545
Jack Reed (RI) // DC office: (202) 224-4642 // RI office: (401) 943-3100
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT) // DC office: (202) 224-5141 // Fax: (202) 228-0776
Sherrod Brown (OH) // DC office: (202) 224-2315 // Fax: (202) 228-6321
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA) // DC office: (202) 224-6324 // Fax: (202) 228-0604 //
Kay Hagan (NC) // DC office: (202) 224-6342 // Fax: (202) 228-2563 //
Jeff Merkley (OR) // DC office: (202) 224-3753 // Fax: (202) 228-3997 //
Al Franken (MN) // DC office: (202) 224-5641
Michael Bennett (CO) // DC office: (202) 224-5852 // Fax: (202) 224-5036 //

Republicans by Rank
Michael B. Enzi (WY) DC office: (888) 250-1879 // Fax: (202) 228-035 // //
Judd Gregg (NH) // DC office: (202) 224-3324 //
Lamar Alexander (TN) // DC office: (202) 224-4944 // Fax: (202) 228-3398
Richard Burr (NC) // DC office: (202) 224-3154 // Fax: (202) 228-2981
Johnny Isakson (GA) // DC office: (202) 224-3643 // Fax: (202) 228-0724
John McCain (AZ) // DC office: (202) 224-2235 // Fax: (202) 228-2862
Orrin G. Hatch (UT) // DC office: (202) 224-5251 // Fax: (202) 224-6331 //
Lisa Murkowski (AK) // DC office: (202) 224-6665 // Fax: (202) 224-5301 //
Tom Coburn, M.D. (OK) // DC office: (202) 224-5754 // Fax: (202) 224-6008
Pat Roberts (KS) // DC office: (202) 224-4774 // Fax: (202) 224-3514

In your communication, please be:

Respectful (even if the office is unsupportive). We want to duplicate the Teabaggers' coverage and efficacy in contacting Congress. We DO NOT want to duplicate their rhetorical rancor or personal invective as that will place us all in a bad light. At the end of the communication, thank them for their time.

Insistent that this legislation is sorely needed. Explain how this economy has made a tough situation even more dire and how we can’t wait for Rep. Barney Frank as we’re losing our chance to address this in this session. (You can additionally remind them of Sen. Kennedy’s words shortly before his death on his support of ENDA).

Stress the Personal. We’re not going to force you to a script – put this in your own words! If all of us parrot the same words, they’ll dismiss it as a carbon copy campaign. If you have an incident of discrimination in the workplace (and most all Trans people do), detail that. If you have friends or relatives who’ve been discriminated against in the workplace place, recount their stories too. Personal stories make impact and work!

We can’t speak on behalf of other groups, but if needed, you may mention you were encouraged to contact them by the National Trans Advocacy Coalition (NTAC).

After the Senate Committee vote, NTAC will issue a follow-up Action Alert on ENDA.

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Founded in 1999, NTAC – the National Trans Advocacy Coalition – is a grassroots civil rights group and the longest-tenured organization advocating for federal legislation on behalf of the America’s Trans Community.

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