Senate Republicans Block Vote on Paycheck Fairness Act

Today, in yet another volley in the war on women, Senate Republicans blocked voting on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Proponents of the bill needed 60 votes in order to break a G.O.P. filibuster, but were able to muster only 52. Some 47 Republicans voted against a floor vote.

Because women continue to be paid less than men in similar positions, making just 77 cents to the dollar, the legislation was an effort to increase protections for women suing for gender discrimination. Businessweek described the legislation this way:

The bill, sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, would increase potential damages to plaintiffs in pay- discrimination suits and enhance the legal burden on employers to show that pay disparities aren’t gender-based. It would create a grant program to train women on how to negotiate with employers on their pay.

From the Maddow Blog:

There were some hopes that less-conservative Republican senators like Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) might break ranks on this one. For that matter, vulnerable Republican incumbents like Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) could have sided with Democrats purely for appearances, knowing that their votes wouldn't affect the outcome.

Perhaps some of the senators being considered for the Republican vice presidential nomination, such as Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Thune (R-S.D.), or Rob Portman (R-Ohio), might side with women to make themselves more palatable to a national audience? No, they all backed the filibuster and killed the bill, too.

The GOP opposition was as unanimous as it was unyielding, White House lobbying notwithstanding.

For those unfamiliar with the substance behind the legislation, the bill would "enhance the remedies available for victims of gender-based discrimination and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity. The measure would also protect employees from retaliation for sharing salary information, which is important for deterring and challenging discriminatory compensation.

Read more about it here

AlterNet / By Staff

Posted at June 5, 2012, 11:47am

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