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“Punish Them At The Polls!”: Paycheck Fairness Act Blocked Again By Senate GOP

Senate Republicans on Monday blocked for the fourth time a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay laws for women.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would ban employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with each other, impose harsher penalties for pay discrimination and require employers to be able to show that wage gaps between men and women are based on factors other than gender.

The bill needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster and advance to a final vote on passage, but it fell short Monday by a vote of 52 to 40. Senate Democrats have brought the bill to the floor four times since 2011, and each time Republicans have rejected it.

“The wage gap not only hurts our families, it hurts the economy,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said before the vote. “If it were reversed, I’d be standing here fighting for the men. It’s not right.”

Republicans say they oppose the bill because they believe it would discourage employers from hiring women, out of a fear of lawsuits. The GOP has accused Democrats of staging a “show vote” on the bill in an election year, knowing it won’t pass.

“At a time when the Obama economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss, all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the last vote on the bill in April. “In other words, it’s just another Democratic idea that threatens to hurt the very people that it claims to help.”

Women working full-time in the U.S. earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the Census Bureau. A small portion of that gap, economists say, is due to employers paying women less than men for the same work.

Republicans are trying to engage women voters ahead of the November midterm elections, but their opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act and other equal pay measures has repeatedly been used against them in campaigns.

 

By: Laura Bassett, The Huffington Post Blog, September 15, 2014

 

 

 

September 16, 2014 Posted by | Gender Gap, Paycheck Fairness Act, Senate | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Worried About The Men”: Paycheck Fairness Act Generates Unexpected GOP Fears

Senate Democrats are moving forward with their election-year “Fair Shot” agenda, including popular bills intended to make life a little more difficult for the Senate Republican minority. First up is the Paycheck Fairness Act, which GOP policymakers have already killed twice – once in 2010 and again in 2012.

For those who may need a refresher, 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.”

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an important step forward when it comes to combating discrimination, but it was also narrowly focused to address a specific problem: giving victims of discrimination access to the courts for legal redress. The Paycheck Fairness Act is a broader measure and Dems consider it an important part of their agenda.

It’s not surprising that Republican opposition will likely kill the bill for a third time, but I am struck by the arguments some in the GOP have come up with.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is worried that the Paycheck Fairness Act – a bill designed to ensure equal pay – will hurt men.

“Take me through exactly what would have to happen, with a specific example of a man and woman, where a man is being paid less than the woman,” Alexander asked during a Senate hearing. “Because this law is not just about women – it’s about men and women.”

Under the status quo, women receive unequal pay for equal work – for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes 77 cents. Alexander isn’t just opposed to a legislation intended to address wage discrimination, he also wants to know what men will get out of it?

The answer isn’t complicated: men will get a more just society for all. Isn’t that enough?

Perhaps the more salient point to consider is why pay equity has become such a problematic issue for much of the Republican Party.

Two weeks ago, Cari Christman, the executive director of a political action committee for Texas Republican women, got the ball rolling when she struggled to explain her party’s opposition to pay-equity laws. She said women don’t need measures like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, in part because “women are extremely busy.”

Soon after, Beth Cubriel, the executive director of the Texas Republican Party, said women are to blame for receiving unequal pay for equal work. She argued that if women “become better negotiators,” the problem will take care of itself.

Last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) appeared on msnbc and seemed annoyed by the entire subject, calling the debate “nonsense,” and urging Democrats to focus on “substantive issues” – as if this issue isn’t substantive at all.

And now Lamar Alexander is worried about men facing gender-based wage discrimination.

Don’t be too surprised if pay equity becomes a key element of Democrats’ 2014 strategy. Not only are they on the right side of public opinion, but it seems the GOP is struggling badly to address the issue coherently.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 2, 2014

April 3, 2014 Posted by | GOP, Paycheck Fairness Act | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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