(HUFFINGTON POST) WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden says he doesn’t see any reason why the president shouldn’t use his executive authority to ban workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors. But he said the better solution would be for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have broader implications.
“I don’t see any downside,” Biden said in an interview with The Huffington Post, when asked about President Barack Obama’s reluctance to take executive action on the issue. “The way to do this is to pass ENDA. That ends it everywhere.”
The fact that Biden couldn’t point to any negative consequences of executive action may be a small win for LGBT rights groups, who are largely puzzled by the White House’s refusal to act. President Barack Obama made a campaign promise in 2008 to take executive action on LGBT job discrimination, but nothing has happened since. When the issue comes up in White House briefings, the press secretary says Congress needs to take the lead, since legislation would go further than an executive order. If Congress passed ENDA, it would make it illegal nationwide to fire or harass someone at work for being LGBT. In contrast, an executive order would only apply to federal contractors.