White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday, amid coronavirus and impeachment crises, President Biden “stands by” his campaign pledge to sign the Equality Act to expand the ban on anti-LGBTQ discrimination under the law within 100 days — although she indicated Congress has to take initial steps with the legislation.
“He stands by it,” Psaki said, responding to a question during the White House news briefing from the Washington Blade. “I would say that there’s some actions that need to be taken by Congress, of course.”
Psaki half-jokingly pointed out the Biden administration started days ago, 15 or so, which she implied she leaves plenty of time for Biden to fulfill his campaign promise to the sign the Equality Act within 100 days.
“So we have 85 days to go,” Psaki said.
With Biden making four crises of the economy, coronavirus, climate and racial inequity his top priorities, as well as the forthcoming impeachment trial of former President Trump, fears had persisted in the LGBTQ community Biden wouldn’t be able to fulfill his campaign pledge on the Equality Act. Additionally, 10 Republican votes would be needed for the 60 votes to end a filibuster on the legislation in the Senate.
Psaki, however, said she had no information when asked when Biden would speak out in support of the legislation, which would be key in his role as chief legislator in advancing the Equality Act.
“I think the President has been out speaking out about a range of issues he’s committed to, including many on LGBTQ rights, over the course of the last two weeks of his presidency, and he will continue to be,” Psaki said. “But I don’t have any scheduling updates for you at this point in time.”
A senior Democratic aide told the Blade that Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) are looking at the week of Feb. 22 to introduce the Equality Act with a vote expected as early as March.