House Leadership Cancels Vote on VA Bill that Included Anti-LGBT Language

HRC staff

Following U.S. House of Representative’s shameful approval of an anti-LGBT provision in a defense spending bill last week, leadership thought twice and canceled a vote yesterday on a bill scheduled for last night that included more anti-LGBT language.

The Washington Post’s Lisa Rein reported:

“The little-noticed language would have allowed private doctors and other medical providers to sign contracts with VA even if they offered no protections from discrimination to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. The language would have overridden an executive order President Obama signed in 2014 that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Last week, House leadership faced massive fallout after they played procedural games and held a vote open beyond the normally scheduled time in order to torpedo an amendment that would have ensured that funds from an appropriations bill couldn’t be used to discriminate against LGBT workers.

Four of the seven Republicans who caved to Republican leadership face tough reelection races, and their votes will be remembered in November.

The vote came after an anti-LGBT amendment was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). After House Republican Leadership refused to allow a vote on a bipartisan amendment to strike the defense bill language, The White House weighed in against it, saying that the amendment, which could undermine President Obama's Executive Order protecting LGBT Americans from discrimination, has “nothing to do with our national defense.”

Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who is openly gay, spoke passionately on the House floor while trying to strip the anti-LGBT provision from the NDAA. Watch video of his speech on the floor last week here.


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