In a strongly bipartisan 223-195 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to ensure that funds from an appropriations bill cannot be used to discriminate against LGBT workers. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) offered the amendment yesterday to the FY17 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, following an attempt last week where House leadership held the amendment vote open on the floor longer than permitted to flip seven of 36 Republican votes and kill the amendment.
This week, 43 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting favorably.
"Today's vote is a strong reminder that equality isn't a partisan issue," said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. "No American should face discrimination because of who they are or whom they love. While that principle won a victory that was elusive last week, it's time to advance meaningful legal protections for LGBT people and pass the Equality Act. This vote can be a building block if Congress works together for protections that the overwhelming majority of voters want for LGBT Americans."
The House also disappointingly passed an amendment offered by Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) that prohibits funds appropriated by the bill from being taken away from any entity in North Carolina for any reason including fraud, failure to carry out the terms of a contract or if used in violation of the law. The broadly-worded amendment was intended to prevent any cessation of funds to the state of North Carolina over its anti-transgender law.. The 227-192 vote included 11 Republicans voting no.
In July 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13672, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Maloney Amendment says that no funds from the bill can be used to contract with companies that aren’t in compliance with this executive order.
A nearly identical amendment passed last year in the House on a bill to fund the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. That amendment, offered by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) received huge bipartisan support, with 60 Republicans voting yes -- including Rep. Paul Ryan (before he was Speaker).