Republican Senator Dean Heller announced he plans to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ahead of Monday’s cloture vote.
“After listening to Nevadans’ concerns about this issue from a variety of viewpoints and after numerous conversations with my colleagues, I feel that supporting this legislation is the right thing to do,” Heller said in a press release Monday morning. “This legislation raises the federal standards to match what we have come to expect in Nevada, which is that discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstance.”
With Heller – who is the 60th member to announce support – on board, Majority Leader Harry Reid now appears to have enough votes to pass the bill. The last Democratic hold out, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, threw his support behind the legislation last Wednesday.
The last time the Senate voted on ENDA was 1996, where it failed by one vote.
President Obama addressed the issue Monday morning in a blog post for The Huffington Post, urging both the Senate and House to pass ENDA. However, it is unlikely the Republican-controlled House will take up ENDA in its second session.
In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner affirmed his opposition to the bill. “The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” Boehner Spokesman Michael Steel said.