The House is moving quickly to approve a federal gay partner benefits bill, reported.

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBO), which would extend benefits to the gay spouses of federal employees, might be up for a floor vote before the end of the year, the website reported.

Openly lesbian Wisconsin Representative Tammy Baldwin introduced the legislation in May and has testified in favor of the legislation both in the House and Senate.

In June, President Obama signed an executive order that extends some benefits but the order changed little; it offered federal employees sick leave to take care of a sick partner or a non-biological child, but partners remain blocked from access to primary health insurance and pension programs. At the time, Obama mentioned the bill, saying Congress would need to fill in the gaps.

Openly gay Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank has praised Obama for supporting the measure, saying: “He deserves the credit. He has kept this issue alive.”

During her Senate testimony last month, Baldwin said the bill would shore up the government's competitive advantage.

“As it stands, some federal employees do not receive equal compensation and benefits for their equal contributions. And the federal government is not keeping pace with leading private-sector employers in recruiting and retaining top talent.”

Baldwin also testified on the bill's anti-fraud provisions, saying the “penalties for fraudulent claims for domestic partners would be the same as the current penalties for fraudulent claims of marriage.”

As a lesbian and federal worker, she also offered personal testimony on the inequities of federal benefits.

“[T]he difference between my health benefits and yours [Senator Lieberman], with regard to that benefit alone over the course of my ten years in Congress is measured in five figures,” she testified.

John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management and the highest-ranking openly gay official in the Obama administration, testified on the cost of the bill, saying it would be “negligible.”

Both versions, however, have yet to attract sufficient support for approval. The bill's House version has attracted 126 co-sponsors, all Democrats, while Senator Joseph Lieberman's version has the backing of 24 senators, including one Republican.

Baldwin said she “absolutely” believes the bill will pass.