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Republicans Block Paycheck Fairness Act

Republicans Block Paycheck Fairness Act

With a final vote of 52-47, Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act once again showing American women that the GOP is not concerned with ideas of fundamental fairness and equality.

The vote was a strict party line vote with the two independent senators voting with Democrats and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) abstaining.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) sharply criticized the vote, especially because the bill has widespread support. But like so many other matters with Republicans, they simply wouldn’t let it get a fair vote. “This was a missed opportunity for the Senate to do the right thing for women and the nation,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “When women are paid less, it hurts them and their families, and it undermines the U.S. economy. How lawmakers can turn down this commonsense economic policy is truly a mystery.”

By some estimates, women could lose up to $1 million over a 40-year career because of the pay gap. In higher-paying fields such as law, the disparity can result in even greater lifetime losses. Individual choices can affect the gender pay gap, but these choices are not the whole story — and, of course, these “choices” themselves are constrained by stereotype and discrimination. AAUW’s report Behind the Pay Gap controlled for factors known to affect earnings such as education and training, parenthood, and hours worked and found that college-educated women still earn less than men — despite having the same major and occupation as their male counterparts.

“Equal pay should not be a partisan issue. In fact, before the Senate took up the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2010, equal pay was something on which we could all agree. Previous bills brought to the floor with the goal of equal pay for equal work passed with bipartisan votes — until now.” said Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations. “Women feel the sting of unfair pay all the time — at the grocery store, at the gas station, and in retirement. This isn’t political to them; it’s just common sense. And it’s that kind of kitchen-table economics that women will take with them to the polls in November.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3220) would have deterred wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to co-workers. Currently, employers can penalize and even fire employees for talking about their salaries.

Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families called the vote “deeply troubling” and evidence that Congress “cannot pass measure of critical importance to women and families.”

The special interests who pressured Congress to filibuster the Paycheck Fairness Act may have won today, but the nation lost – and women and families will suffer as a result. Today’s vote is deeply troubling, further evidence that this Congress cannot pass legislation that is critically important to the economic security of women and families and to our nation’s economic recovery. The Paycheck Fairness Act would protect women from discrimination in wages and promote basic fairness in our workplaces. It is appalling that politics have once again trumped women and families – but the fight for fair pay is not over.

It’s a disappointing, though not surprising vote and one that will surely haunt Republicans come November.


Related Stories:

Women’s Wages Flatten At 39: Another Reason We Need Pay Equity

Senate To Vote On Paycheck Fairness Act Tomorrow


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Photo from gageskidmore via flickr.

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11:31AM PST on Nov 25, 2012

I don't know how "ANYONE" can choose to block This Act. And, I wonder how the female spouses, the daughters, mothers, aunts, nieces and other female family members & friends are not incensed that their male family member who is a Republican legislator believes them to not be equal to himself and also to other males.

12:27PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

Petition signed.

1:14AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

You bet I signed!!! In my younger years, I used to consider myself an Independent voter; & really delved into the issue & perspectives of both parties before voting. But, those were the days of Women's Rights; & both parties were courting favor with women voters & compromised when in office for the greater good of the American populace. BTW, what ever happened to the Equal Rights Amendment? I could tell you; but you will benefit from your own research. The GOP has now eroded what gains were achieved in the 1970's toward equal opportunities for women. Exercise your rights in the voting booth (while you still have them) to reverse this attack on American working class women so that females of future generations can muster a decent living here.

6:38AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012


5:01AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

thanks for sharing

5:08PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012


8:37PM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

Equal pay for equal work ! Its only fair !

6:11AM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

Let's hope that voters remember in November. Our collective memory seems to be rather short!

1:58AM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

My mind just boggles when I read about things like this... What ARE these polticians DOING.??. It seems that world-wide there are people that have the power to make decisions that honestly and truthfully are just plain WEIRD and frankly dangerous! I am afraid that it is not much better in Australia where I live but think it sounds as if THIS mob would take a lot of beating for downright stupidity and blatant unfairness! Are they meant to be of normal intellect and saneness? It doesn't sound like it! I can't believe people that ARE totally normal in the head, could do what they seem to be doing in your lovely country!

7:58PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

I known its tempting to think "blonde", but she probably is very liberal compared to her friends, and supports the important women's rights. Like the right to vote a straight Republican ticket, or the right to wear saran wrap - in the privacy of their own homes, of course.

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