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On the Agenda: November 12-15

Meghan Groob,
Media Strategist,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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November 12, 2013

It’s a short week here in Washington, as Congress and much of the city closed their doors yesterday for Veteran’s Day. Luckily we had a lot to celebrate over the long weekend, due to higher-than-expected jobs numbers and the Senate’s passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Despite concerns that the government shutdown would hurt hiring, 204,000 jobs were added last month. This was significantly higher than most economists predicted, as the economy continues to improve in spite of Congress’ occasional attempts to sink it. The shutdown did, however, raise the jobless rate, as hundreds of thousands of federal employees were technically unemployed after being furloughed.

As you’ve no doubt heard from us last week, the Senate’s passage of ENDA is a big win. Passing by a margin of 64-32, 10 Republicans joined the Democrats to pass a measure that would finally prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As our executive director Anthony D. Romero said, “in a year of historic victories for LGBT people, this one ranks near the top.” The bill’s future in the House is uncertain as of now, but we’ll keep you posted on any and all developments.

Turning to this week, here’s what to keep your eyes on:

Wednesday, November 13th

NSA Surveillance
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law will mark up the Surveillance Transparency Act, introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Jeh C. Johnson to be Secretary of Homeland Security.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will hold a hearing to discuss national origin discrimination issues in today’s workplace.

Thursday, November 14th

National Security
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Threats to the Homeland.”

The National Security Subcommittee of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a series of hearings on border security oversight. The topic for this hearing will be “Border Crossing Cards and B1/B2 Visas.”

Juvenile Justice
Legislative Counsel Jennifer Bellamy will speak on a panel sponsored by the National Juvenile Justice Network: Youth Justice Leadership Institute in support of the Youth PROMISE Act.

Friday, November 15th

The Federalist Society is hosting its 2013 National Lawyers Convention. Legislative Counsel Michelle Richardson will speak on a panel titled “International: Cybersecurity – The Policy and Politics of a Leading National Security Threat.”

Also Happening This Week

The Senate may begin debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill currently includes helpful transfer provisions of Guantanamo Bay detainees, as well as provisions concerning sexual assault in the military and religious liberty.

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