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Maloney Urges White House to Veto NDAA if Anti-LGBT Language is Included in Final Bill

Oct 31, 2016
Press Release

Washington – Months after engaging in one of the most controversial floor fights in recent memory, Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee Conferee Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) sent a letter to the President requesting that he veto the defense bill if an anti-LGBT provision is not removed by the Conference Committee. The controversial Russell Amendment, added to the NDAA during committee markup by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), would roll back a critical 2014 executive order by President Barack Obama on employment discrimination, which would effectively allow federal contractors to fire employees solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The discriminatory Russell Amendment has nothing to do with fighting ISIS, protecting our troops, or keeping America safe – it’s really that simple,” said Rep. Maloney. “Taxpayer dollars should not be used to subsidize discrimination and I urge the White House to veto this anti-LGBT legislation unless Senator John McCain removes this completely irrelevant provision from the defense bill.”

After the Russell Amendment was included in the NDAA, Rep. Maloney introduced a procedural motion on the House Floor to remove the hateful language from the bill. After his measure was defeated, NDAA passed the House with the discriminatory language included.

The next day, Maloney introduced an amendment to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017 (MilCon-VA) to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to Military and Veterans Affairs contractors that discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Although the Maloney Amendment initially had sufficient votes to pass, Republican leadership rigged the vote by holding the vote period open, even after time expired. Republican leadership then convinced seven Republicans, who had initially supported the amendment, to switch their votes and the amendment ultimately failed. 

Days later, Maloney introduced the Maloney Amendment to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017, which would specifically prevent contractors paid by funds allocated for energy and water projects from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. After the “switching seven” received criticism for their changed votes on NDAA, the Maloney amendment to the energy and water bill passed with 43 Republican votes.

In response to the Maloney Amendment’s passage as part of the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017, Speaker Paul Ryan abandoned regular order and closed the amendment process for subsequent appropriations bills.