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Harkin says ENDA "will move this year" in the U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on Tuesday said that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) “will move this year” in the Senate.

Speaking at an event at the Center for American Progress, Harkin pledged to move the bill, which has languished in Congress for more than a decade, through the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which he chairs, reported Think Progress.

ENDA would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees.

The measure has been introduced in every Congress since 1994 (except the 109th). Similar legislation has been introduced without passage since 1974.

In 2009, then-Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduced a transgender-inclusive version of ENDA. He introduced it again in 2011, and Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced it in the Senate.

President Barack Obama, who supports the bill’s passage, is said to be considering an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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