WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama will sign an order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees "on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday that specifics "are still being finalized," but the order would "build upon existing protections" around race, ethnicity and religion for those employed by entities doing business for the government.

Earnest declined to say when Obama would sign the order but said he has been consistent on anti-discrimination measures.

Earnest said Obama has been waiting for Congress to approve anti-discrimination legislation, which remains stalled, and decided to take steps on his own.

"The President is not just going to wait around for Congress to take action." Earnest said.

Obama's action does not preclude Congress from approving its own proposals.