Take Action: World AIDS Day is Tuesday, December 1st
World AIDS Day is Tuesday, December 1st.
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising
AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007,
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About the Day
World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1st. The World
Over a million Americans are estimated to be living with HIV.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act, the health care reform bill passed by the House, represents a great victory for the LGBT community. The bill includes – for the first time – sexual orientation and gender identity as recognized categories of health disparities which require protection and tracking. In other words, the federal government will explicitly seek to decrease the level of discrimination faced by LGBT individuals when seeking insurance coverage and/or access to care. The inclusion of a public option will give us an unprecedented level of access to necessary health care services. The bill also moves toward ending the unfair taxation of domestic partners, improves treatment options for people living with HIV, and provides funding for comprehensive sexuality education programs.
The inclusion of the Stupak-Pitts amendment is a concerning issue for the LGBT community. After all, a lesbian couple could suffer a dangerous pregnancy and be forced to pay for the abortion out of their own pockets. The amendment would also set a precedent for Congress to decide which procedures count as “medically necessary,” and give them the power to determine the conditions under which certain groups can access care. The explicit exclusion of medical procedures is a dangerous trend, with very negative implications for LGBT individuals.
The goal of health care reform is to expand access, not restrict it. If the government begins restricting one population’s access, it will be able to restrict any population’s access. The LGBT community is already a vulnerable one, and enacting legislation that includes anything like the Stupak-Pitts ban will only endanger it further. The National Coalition for LGBT Health has joined the Stop Stupak coalition, including Choice USA, the National Organization for Women (NOW) and Planned Parenthood, to advocate against the Stupak ban. On November 18th, the Coalition met with leaders in the House and the Senate to encourage them to keep such restrictive language out of the final health reform bill. On Wednesday December 2nd, Stop Stupak will hold a series of events, including a public rally and a full day of lobbying, in Washington D.C. Please visit action.stopstupak.com to join the Stop Stupak coalition and help us enact progressive, inclusive health care reform.
Link for more information: http://action.stopstupak.com
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act bill (ENDA), which was originally planned for a House vote in September or October, then November, now looks like it’s headed for a February landing. That’s problematic because it puts ENDA into the Senate during an ultra-difficult time: a major legislative logjam, a major jobs initiative, midterm election campaigns, and a promised Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal.
The House Committee responsible for moving ENDA along, the House Committee on Education and Labor, has been slow-walking it, claiming that it needs some minor “tweaks” on language that has been vetted for years. Rex Wockner’s blog today features quotes from some high profile activists questioning the delays, including political consultant Steve Hildebrand and former National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has also been quoted as saying that delay is not good.
Meanwhile, community action calls to Committee Chair George Miller of California over the past week have been unsuccessful in obtaining any statement or action. However, under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives [see page 8, section c(2)], three members of the Committee can demand a markup, which must be scheduled within three days. The names of friendly Committee members are provided after the jump so you can call and demand action.
A nation-wide community conference call has been scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 1st, at noon (ET) to discuss actions we can take to push a vote on ENDA now. It will last one hour. The agenda is posted after the jump. All are welcome, and I hope you will join us. Register here.
Click here for more: http://bit.ly/7RqUPx
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
A nation-wide community conference call has been scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 1st, at noon EST to discuss actions we can take to push a vote on ENDA now. It will last one hour.
All are welcome. Please register.
I will be on the call to discuss strategy.
After the jump: Inspiration, and a call to action Register For ENDA In Jeopardy: Emergency Conference Call Tues — Click here for more
Register for “ENDA In Jeopardy: Emergency Conference Call” to coordinate actions Tues 12/1 12pm EST All Welcome http://tinyurl.com/voteendanow
An Open Letter to Chairman George Miller of the House Committee on Education and Labor, where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is stalled while awaiting markup.
Dear Chairman Miller:
I know Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and that you are back in your home district in California to celebrate with your family and friends. But don’t reach for that turkey yet. Many of my friends and family are unemployed and underemployed because of discrimination. We are wondering why you are holding up rescheduling the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in your Committee.
“Tweak” the language of the bill if you think you must, but why not get it on the schedule? How long could it take to “tweak”?
After the jump: Contact info for Chairman Miller, and The Advocate suggests that we vote on whether to scrap gender identity protections from ENDA. Click here
Representative George Miller is the chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor. His Committee was supposed to markup the Employment Non-Discrimination Act last Wednesday and move it to the House floor for a vote. Instead, he has decided to hold ENDA in Committee to “tinker” with language that needs no tinkering, with no guarantee that it will be rescheduled in December. Meanwhile, there is a legislative logjam waiting to break loose in the Senate, a major new jobs initiative coming, another LGBT bill on domestic partnership benefits for federal employees edging ahead of ENDA, midterm election campaigns in which 4 Senators we need are going up for re-election, and DADT promised for Spring/Fall 2010. I’ve discussed this in detail here and here.
There’s a lot of big players coming at us rapidly from downfield. It’s “move it or lose it” time.
Chairman Miller’s reasoning for the delay? At the last minute, he has decided that the language, introduced last year and again in June, now is suddenly vulnerable to conservative judges. The changes he’s suggested are unnecessary, as I have previously discussed in detail. He also thinks that it will be no problem to move ENDA into the Senate in the Spring.
With all due respect to Chairman Miller, and knowing that he is committed to ENDA, I do not understand his strategy. It is unconscionable that the bill has not yet been rescheduled for a markup.
If you value ENDA, please call the Committee on Education and Labor now, and ask that ENDA, HR 3017, be rescheduled immediately for a markup the first week in December.
Let’s do this for two days – Tuesday and Wednesday, to give enough time to for everyone to come on board. Here’s the number – dial early and often: House Committee on Education and Labor: 202-225-3725. (You can also call the toll free DC Capitol line and ask for the Committee: 866-220-0044)
There is also a petition to sign online: click here.
More info here: http://bit.ly/7c1r1d
It was a surprise to most people that the markup of ENDA, scheduled for last Wednesday morning at 10 am, was abruptly postponed on Monday night at 6:30 pm, heralded by a terse red notice on the House Committee on Education and Labor website. After all, ENDA had been touted for months as the next promise to be kept to our community, with LGBT House leaders embracing a vote in September or October.
But in a city like DC, where reading tea leaves is a high art, it really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise. Rumors of an ENDA postponement appeared two weeks ago. Congressman Frank told a reporter that ENDA could be voted on “in February,” and that the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations bill (DPBO) is first in line before ENDA. When I wrote about these rumors, and the major concerns about pushing ENDA into a midterm election campaign timeframe, my politico friends took me to task. I was told to “calm down and listen up.” “There’s no delay on ENDA in the House,” he said. Another one said “Barney just made a mistake. Don’t make too much of it. You’re panicking. It’s not time to panic yet.”
Barney Frank is many things, but he did not become the most powerful U.S. Representative in DC because he has messy accidents in public in front of news reporters.
Fast forward two weeks, to today, and we now know that the rumors were absolutely correct. The ENDA markup was postponed a week ago for “technical amendments.” Instead of the usual procedure of setting a date a week or two later to give enough time to address the issues, no date has been set for the markup. The Committee on Education and Labor is saying it hopes to reschedule the markup in December, but no guarantees. But it’s full speed ahead on DPBO, which had its markup on time last week, and which the Advocate reports will be voted on by the end of the year and rushed off to the Senate.
And now Congress is out of session until next week. Chairman George Miller should never have postponed this, but now that he has, he needs to move ENDA first thing next week. But there’s more bad news after the jump. Click here: http://bit.ly/6SlxIN
North Dakota’s Senator Kent Conrad may be a supporter of ENDA, but his vote is unconfirmed.
Please call him today to ask for his support of S.1584.
Facts and contact info here: http://bit.ly/8k8HRU
While we stand around, twiddling our thumbs, waiting for the doorman to check his clipboard and open the velvet rope to let ENDA inside the House for markup, we have some extra time to pull out our cellphones and dial that cute Senator playing hard-to-get. There is, by the way, some interesting news on that markup postponement, and more to come, which I will review in my Weekly ENDA Update on Monday. Today’s sweetheart is Senator Bill Nelson.
But where is he on ENDA? We don’t know, because he’s said he’s undecided. We’re at 56 likely yes votes in the Senate. Those last four are a bit of a challenge, though there are 9 possible yes votes according to my calculations. Senator Nelson is one of those possible yes votes.
Please call him today to ask for his support of S1584. Also, please share this info with your social networks by clicking on the “Share” link at the bottom of this post. There, you will see buttons to share this post instantly in less than a second with your Twitter and Facebook crowds. That will help get this message out far and wide.
More facts and contact info here: http://bit.ly/hI1Nl
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