Pelosi hands Boehner the gavel; Robert Gibbs packs his bags

Get a load of this fantasy headline from the LA Times. Even if Boehner means what he says, as outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi hands him the gavel, his Tea Party peeps are going to be on his posterior from day one:

John Boehner elected as House speaker, promises new GOP-controlled chamber will be ‘honest, accountable and more responsive’

Boehner, a 20-year congressman from southern Ohio, will pledge to make the House “honest, accountable, and more responsive” to the needs of the American people.

“Our aim will be to give government back to the people,” Boehner is expected to say, according to excerpts of his address released early Wednesday. “In seeking this goal, we will part with some of the rituals that have come to characterize this institution under majorities Republican and Democratic alike. We will dispense with the conventional wisdom that bigger bills are always better; that fast legislating is good legislating; that allowing additional amendments and open debate makes the legislative process “less efficient” than our forefathers intended. These misconceptions have been the basis for the rituals of modern Washington. The American people have not been well served by them.”

But the challenges of governing and holding a perhaps fractious GOP caucus together may clash with Boehner’s stated goals of a more open and inclusive process. Already Democrats are slamming next week’s expected vote in the House to repeal the healthcare overhaul legislation because Republicans are not going to allow the repeal bill to be debated and amended.

“Republicans have now broken at least three of the pledges they made in the election,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said Wednesday. Beyond the healthcare repeal, Woodhouse cited the House GOP’s move to exempt the proposed repeal from a requirement that legislation that increases the federal budget deficit be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. (Proponents of the healthcare law say it will reduce the deficit over the next 20 years.)The GOP may also be backing away from a pledge to slice 0 billion from the budget for the current fiscal year because a quarter of the year has almost passed.

***

Changing gears, Robert Gibbs announced today that he was stepping down as White Press Secretary. His departure comes as there are several shifts under way at the White House as the President and his team gear up for the 2012 re-election bid.

Mr. Gibbs said that he intended to leave in early February. His successor has not yet been decided, he said, but will likely be announced within the next two weeks.

President Obama, who is in the middle of making final decisions on the first major reorganization of his administration, said in a brief telephone interview on Wednesday that Mr. Gibbs would remain a close adviser and “will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come.”

The departure of Mr. Gibbs is part of a series of moves inside the West Wing as the president prepares for a new phase of his administration. The internal shuffling also could bring a new White House chief of staff, a decision the president is expected to make by week’s end, with an announcement as early as next week.

Gibbs did his job, conveying basic information with as little detail as possible, particularly on DADT. One could sum up his answers to questions from The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld and ABC’s Jake Tapper, among others as 1) fibbing assclownery or 2) making him appear to be an empty vessel that is never briefed by high level WH officials.

I’m sure his replacement will bring the same level of candor to the podium

Of course here at the Blend we’ve been telling you that unless the President and Congress act on LGBT legislation in the first two years, the focus will turn away from progress to getting Barack Obama re-elected and members of Congress focusing on their seats. Of course this is now exacerbated by the turnover of the House to the GOP, making it a certainty ENDA (or any other items in the queue on the Hill) will not go anywhere. DADT squeaked by, thank goodness, but that’s still not fully repealed.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Pelosi: Repeal Makes Us Stronger

NANCY PELOSI 201011 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMThe outgoing Speaker of the House calls “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal “a boost of morale for the nation” and takes issue with Senator McCain’s swipe against Saturday’s win for gay civil rights.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Pelosi: All options are on the table re DADT repeal

An intriguing statement from the Speaker. All options? Like attaching DADT repeal to the CR or the tax compromise?

Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Pelosi, said:

“By an overwhelming 40-vote margin, the House voted for the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal amendment as part of the Defense bill in May.

“There has always been the possibility of bringing up the repeal as a freestanding bill in the House or Senate.

“As we come to the end of the session, all options to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are now on the table.”




AMERICAblog Gay

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Tweet Of The Day II – Nancy Pelosi

Joe. My. God.

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Reports That Pelosi Wants Lame Duck ENDA Vote ‘Not True’

Yesterday, Politico posted a report that Nancy Pelosi wants a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the lame duck session of Congress:

Pelosi "As Democrats discuss what, if anything, they can deliver to the base in the lame-duck session, one possibility may be the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, seen by many as the easiest lift among various pieces of stalled gay rights legislation. My colleague Jonathan Allen reports that Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked about wanting to do ENDA on a leadership conference call today. Pelosi didn't set a timeline, but Allen's source said she appears to want a vote before the lame-duck session ends."

The Washington Blade says that just isn't true:

A gay rights activist with the connections to the speaker’s office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a blog posting in Politico on Thursday reporting that Pelosi wants a vote on ENDA before lawmakers adjourn for the year is “not true.”

“The speaker brought it up during a leadership call in a list of unfinished bills, and all of the sudden, it got leaked out as she is going to bring this to a vote by the end of the year,” the activist said. “Whoever did leak that took it completely out of context.”

The activist said the speaker didn’t mention “anything else that would have implied she was foretelling a vote by the end of the session.”

Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, said “no decisions” have been made on any legislative items for lame duck.


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Pelosi Wants ENDA Vote

NANCY PELOSI 201011 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMOutgoing House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she aims to
schedule a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would
make it illegal for employers to fire workers based solely on their
sexual orientation or gender identity.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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As Goes Nancy Pelosi, So Goes McDonald’s Toys: Gone

With San Francisco's House Rep. Nancy Pelosi losing her speaker gig now that Republicans are claiming the chamber, her district is seeing another loss: McDonald's toys. Threatening a ban last month, the city's Board of Supervisors yesterday passed a law barring toys from being distributed with meals that don't meet certain health specs. Great. Now what the hell are we going to throw at awful McDonald's employees?


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Queerty

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Pelosi Encouages Gay Teens

NANCY PELOSI 201005 x390 (getty)  | ADVOCATE.COMFollowing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s and President Barack
Obama’s  videos encouraging gay youth to endure the tumultuous teen
years this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has released a video of her
own.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Nancy Pelosi Releases Most Uninspiring ‘It Gets Better’ Video To Date

Don't get me wrong: It's great to see Nancy Pelosi follow Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with her It Gets Better number. But my god, I can't think of any child who is going to see this and think, "Wow, am I no longer depressed." Not that these videos need to have pop soundtracks and be full of laughter, but, HEY NANCY: This is not a speech to Congress. You are talking to children. Ditch the speech writers. And sense the tone.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

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Polis, Progressive Caucus Push Pelosi on ENDA

Pelosienda

Nancy Pelosi has by now grown accustomed to being the Republican and Tea Parties' enemy number one. With the House Speaker's lethargic approach to Employment Non-Discrimination, however, she's increasingly finding herself being criticized by progressives, including those in her own party.

Out and proud Rep. Jared Polis, as well as fellow Congressional Progressive Caucus members, co-chairs Rep. Lynn C. Woolsey and Rep. Raul Grijalva, all Democrats, have started what will hopefully be a chorus of Congressional opposition to ENDA with a letter urging Pelosi to enact ENDA.

Rather than focusing completely on that old, worn out equality argument, however, the letter takes aim at ENDA's economic necessity in a time of financial uncertainty. It's a shrewd move.

"As our economy works to recover, now seems the right time to thrust the American workforce into the 21st century with legislation that addresses discriminatory workplace practices," reads the missive, obtained by the Washington Blade and currently being circulated for signatories.

"Already struggling with an unemployment rate of over 9 percent, the American worker should not need to contend with an employer’s personal discomfort or bias against the sexual orientation or gender identity of an employee."

The signatories conclude on a surprisingly accusatory note, telling Speaker Pelosi, "Turning a blind eye to harassment and discrimination against the LGBT community has too long been a stain on our otherwise proud record of worker protection."

It's unclear whether Polis and other progressive Democrats will be able to push Pelosi further than she's gone — which isn't very far, especially considering that Pelosi has said ENDA won't be approached until after DADT's repeal, an seemingly far-off goal — but at least they're trying.

Read the entire letter, AFTER THE JUMP…


    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
    Speaker of the House
    US House of Representatives
    H 232, the Capitol
    Washington, D.C. 20515

    Dear Madam Speaker:

    Members of the Progressive Caucus thank you for unrelenting support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and for making American jobs a top priority for the 111th Congress. Now is a dire time for the American worker and we believe, H.R. 3017, the Employee Nondiscrimination Act is a vital piece in our economic recovery. With the support of the Democratic leadership and the demonstrated commitment of the Administration, we believe this Congress will finally shut the door on employee discrimination.

    For nearly 20 years progressive members of Congress have been fighting to end discrimination and create a fair and equitable workplace for the LGBT community. In a metaanalysis conducted by the Williams Institute, statistics revealed a persistent and unacceptable trend towards open harassment, unfair hiring practices, unwarranted firings and unequal pay. As a caucus concerned with open-minded and progressive views, we take exception to this blatant mistreatment.

    As our economy works to recover, now seems the right time to thrust the American workforce into the 21st century with legislation that addresses discriminatory workplace practices. Already struggling with an unemployment rate of over 9 percent, the American worker should not need to contend with an employer’s personal discomfort or bias against the sexual orientation or gender identity of an employee. States that have adopted anti-discrimination laws report higher employee satisfaction and company morale. Unfortunately, there are only 20 states and the District of Columbia with these policies in place and 12 that also encompass thetransgender community.

    Employment, promotions and retention should be based on merit and merit alone. For the individual this means a safe and productive work environment where there is a focus on results not a preoccupation with their choice in partner or gender identity. Employers, too, should set their sights on an egalitarian workplace that encourages a sense of community and teamwork. In fact, 94 percent of Fortune 100 companies have antidiscrimination policies protecting lesbian and gay employees and 60 percent protect transgender employees. The best companies hire, promote and retain the best talent, all of which is only made possible by creating a supportive and accepting environment.

    ENDA will put the LGBT community on an even footing with every other employee. Turning a blind eye to harassment and discrimination against the LGBT community has too long been a stain on our otherwise proud record of worker protection. It is imperative to shine a light on this issue and add yet another achievement to this exceptionally accomplished Congress.

    We look forward to working with you and to enact ENDA in the 111th Congress.

    Sincerely,

    _________________________
    Raul Grijalva, CPC Co-Chair

    _________________________

    Lynn Woolsey, CPC Co-Chair

    ______________________
    Jared Polis, CPC Member

Image via TalkNewsMedia's Flickr.


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—  John Wright