Engel tries again for LGBTQ equal rights


U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel is once again pushing for expanded federal protections supporting members of the LGBTQ community as one of the congressional leaders pushing H.R. 5, also known as The Equality Act.

“H.R. 5 isn’t just about updating the law, it’s about recognizing and protecting basic human rights,” Engel said, in a release. “Federal protections for the LGBTQ community are essential to ensuring true equality for every American.”

Just 21 states have explicit laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations, according to Engel, who is a member of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, and an original co-sponsor of The Equality Act. Additionally, only 20 states have such protections for gender identity.

The Equality Act is designed to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, federal jury service, public accommodations, and the use of federal funds.

The bill is not expected to make any movement in the U.S. Senate, however, nor would President Trump be expected to sign it.

But that won’t deter Engel.

“If we want a truly inclusive society, we have to look out for everyone equally,” the Democrat said.


Adriano Espaillat becomes senior whip

Adriano Espaillat will now have a chance to put his people skills to work after his appointment to senior majority whip in the U.S. House.

The second-term congressman will serve under Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, and will work with other senior whips who will meet to discuss key issues facing the 116th Congress.

“Congressman Espaillat is a well-respected consensus builder who has deep relationships within the Democratic caucus,” Clyburn said, in a release. “He will play a key role in ensuring that every voice of the most diverse caucus ever is heard.

“And as we begin to advance an agenda that will have a positive impact on Americans’ everyday lives, Congressman Espaillat will be an invaluable member of the whip team, helping us secure the necessary votes to pass critical pieces of legislation.”

Espaillat was first elected to Congress in 2016, succeeding 23-term congressman Charles Rangel.

He is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — which is chaired by fellow Bronx congressman Eliot Engel — as well as the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Small Business Committee.