((UPDATE 2/24/22 9:23p: A point was raised by a Forum commenter that, ultimately, HR 5055 didn’t pass in its final form. This story was written to clear what was true and untrue in the debate about the amendment vote. But, it’s a valid argument to say that the actual impact of the vote was irrelevant, other than in principle.))**
((UPDATE 2/25/22 5:27a: In an effort for this report to be as accurate as possible, I changed wording from “secured” to “protected continued funding”. Also, “now fully-funded” was changed to “then fully-authorized”. The Yes vote, as noted in the excerpts of Maloney’s floor speech, was meant to ensure that EO 13672 could not be interfered with by HR 5055.))
Like me, you may be tiring hearing the back-and-forth between Mr Renacci and Mr Blystone regarding the Maloney amendment to the Federal “Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act” HR 5055 in 2016 which Renacci voted for, and whether or not it gave support to transgender rights, including (in its implementation) bathroom choice. But, when I recently listened to famed radio show host Bob Frantz tell Joe Blystone on the 2/22/22 radio show that he “searched everywhere” and couldn’t find any evidence of it (1), my curiosity was raised.
Let’s jump to the conclusion, because it’s a bit complicated of a path to get to home base: As a House Representative, Jim Renacci SWITCHED HIS VOTE TO A YES (after voting ‘No’ the week prior) to vote FOR the Maloney amendment (2), which protected continued funding for Obama’s 2014 Executive Order 13672 (3), and in turn the legal and Federal foundations that support “bathroom choice”. Notably, President Trump did NOT discontinue or cancel (4) EO 13672.
In EO 13672, which Harvard Law Review called the “product of decades of organizing and advocacy for LGBTQ rights generally” (5), there are clauses which require “the prohibition of segregation of facilities on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity” (3).
Now, if you read just high-level over what most summaries try to tell you, EO 13672 sounds just like it’s codifying that an employer cannot discriminate against someone due to their sexual orientation. You even have the ‘assurances’ of Paul Ryan in one article, claiming that “A bunch of members were misled as to what” the amendment was about, and mentioning “bathrooms and guidance letters” in the same breath (2). But, you have to read deeper and understand that EO 13672 was the basis for pushing ahead with bathroom choice, under the power of that restriction against “segregation of facilities.” (3)
The HR diversity-focused talent recruitment company Circa has an article (6) that explains the impact of EO 13672 in that even though it only officially applies to Federal contractors, “the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is actively advocating against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for all employers subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Among other things, they reveal that “according to Office of Personnel Management guidance, federal contractors should allow individuals to use facilities consistent with the individual’s gender identity.”
So, basically EO 13672 started a complex snowball effect, that over the years has filtered down into various quasi-enforcememts through the EEOC that get to EXACTLY what was the intent of EO 13672 all along, and a “conservative” like Mr Renacci should have known better than to support it, because that ‘snowball’ had already been rolling and picking-up size, by the time he voted for the amendment to fund it.
And in conclusion, that’s exactly where we’re at: Did Mr Renacci know all of what he was voting for at the time? It was a last-minute amendment to a seemingly unrelated House Bill that had bi-partisan support and many wanted to pass. But, Mr Renacci claims to be a competent businessman, and it would seem he’d be aware of how the Dept of Labor’s rule related to EO 13672 impacted businesses and transgender rights. And, it seems clear that Renacci deliberately switched his vote at the last minute to support the amendment. Also, as a purported staunch conservative, he had every red flag in the book to be careful about this vote. The amendment was being raised by “the first openly gay member of Congress from New York” (quoting Maloney’s bio on his own website) (7), it was to prop-up an Executive Order from Obama regarding LGBT rights, for which the Dept of Labor didn’t even have the normal “proposed rule and comment period” before issuing its final rule in Dec 2014, and Mr Maloney’s speech in 2016 used every coersive slander in the book to defame opponents of his amendment (8), in order to get support.
What I DO fault Mr Renacci for is NOW trying to cover for a bad vote by trying to claim that it didn’t do what it did, and casting shade at those calling him out for it.
And it’s not ONLY bad that Mr Renacci voted for this Amendment, but it was up to another conservative Republican (Bradley Byrne) afterwards to squeak in another amendment to the Bill AFTER the Maloney amendment was approved, to ensure that religious objections to the rights conferred to LGBT in the then fully-authorized EO 13672 didn’t get superseded. Without Rep Byrne’s follow-on amendment to protect religious objections, what Renacci voted “Yes” for would possibly have had even more negative impact for conservatives of Faith.
In ending, I just want to say this to Bob Frantz: Maybe you should take a break from radio and paid speaking events for a few days, so that you can take a class on how to use Google Search. And maybe another on investigative research, too.
(All research done for this article was done completely on my own. I did not consult or look at links or materials any candidate, including Mr Blystone, has posted about this. If my sources align with something he or someone else posted, it’s because it’s that straightforward to find, with a little persistence. Some people in the Renacci camp like to split hairs and claim that the amendment didn’t have anything to do directly with “transgender bathrooms”. We can see now that it DID have downstream impact which would have been apparent to businesses at the time of voting, if not totally obvious in the House session while discussing it. But, even if you don’t believe that, it DID absolutely codify into law President Obama’s EO 13672, which was about as far from true ‘conservatism’ as you can get.)
Blystone 6/29/21 claim:
Renacci 7/3/2021 Statement:
**Actual status of HR 5055 (not passed): https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5055