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October 20, 2014

Republicans Block Pay Equity Bill (Updated)

Updated 12:45 p.m. | Senate Republicans filibustered a debate on a Democratic pay equity bill backed by President Barack Obama Wednesday.

Sixty votes were needed to allow the bill to be debated on the Senate floor, but Republicans refused to allow the bill to come up for debate after complaining Democrats weren’t allowing votes on their amendments. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, also broke with his typical party leanings and voted with Republicans against cloture.  The vote was 53-44, with Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., joining Republicans as a “no” in order to preserve his right to reconsider the vote.

King explained his vote in a lengthy statement. “This particular bill, in my view, fails to address the real causes that are driving the wage gap,” he said. “In addition, the bill could impose substantial burdens on businesses in justifying pay differentials,” he said, adding that there are better ways, like raising the minimum wage, to address the gap.

No Republican voted with the Democrats. Three Republicans did not vote: Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Cornyn of Texas and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Republicans also blocked debate on the pay measure in 2010 and 2012.

Senate Republican women had proposed their own alternative by Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Susan Collins of Maine, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska that would have included provisions against retaliating against workers who inquire about salaries.

Republicans had also sought to get votes on other proposals that they said would boost jobs.

“When the Obamacare economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “In other words, it’s just another Democratic idea that threatens to hurt the very people that it claims to help.”

Overall, Senate Republicans didn’t seem worried by the potential political fallout, despite Senate Democrats promising to bring the bill up again and again this year.

“Though we lost the vote, we refuse to lose the battle,” said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., immediately after the vote. She said they would not give up on the effort and urged women to put their “lipstick on” and continue the fight.

Reid ripped the GOP’s move in advance.

“Are Republicans in the Senate so repulsed by equal pay for hard-working American women that they can’t even stomach the thought of debating the issue?” he asked. “Instead, Republican senators have come to the floor and tried to offer amendments that have nothing to do with equal pay. As I said yesterday, if senators wish to offer amendments to the Paycheck Fairness Act, they first need to vote to begin debate on the bill.”

King’s full statement is here:

“Discrimination of all kinds is wrong. I think a woman ought to get paid as much as men for the same work – that’s just common sense and it’s the law. But I’ve looked at this from all sides – I’ve talked to Mainers, to business leaders, to men and women, and this particular bill, in my view, fails to address the real causes that are driving the wage gap. In addition, the bill could impose substantial burdens on businesses in justifying pay differentials. The way to narrow the wage gap between men and women includes facilitating more family-friendly workplaces, which will allow women to stay in the workforce if they choose to have children; encouraging more girls and young women to pursue higher-paying professions, like science, engineering, law, and medicine; and improving the earning potential for low-wage workers, who are disproportionately women. That’s why I support raising the minimum wage, which the President’s Council on Economic Advisers says will help narrow the wage gap. I support equal pay for equal work, and this was a very difficult vote. In the end, however, I felt this bill will not get us there – and I look forward to working with my colleagues on legislation that will.”

Related:

Pay Equity Bill Exposes Gender Gap Politics for Senate GOP

  • MJ

    Just an FYI on the story about equal pay. Sen. Deb Fisher is from Nebraska, not Oklahoma.

  • BYUDC

    Interesting that this issue only comes up during election years. Wonder why Democrats don’t push for it during odd years? Might be because they really don’t care – it just makes for good election fodder.

    • TRonJ

      Bingo. Its the same reason Dems don’t try to push for a minimum wage tied to the CPI…its the political gift that keep on giving.

      • northstate

        What does the minimum wage have to do with the chained CPI in Social Security? Please explain.

        • TRonJ

          Are you really that dense?? CPI is a measurement of cost inflation….its independent of Social Security. The two terms together is a whole different issue. Let me rephrase my point so you understand. Democrats need to stir the base every now and then in order to generate voter anger. Minimum wage is one of those that they really don’t want to solve because then they’d have very little else to offer the American public. They had a super majority…which rarely ever happens…in 2008-2010. The last minimum wage law that went into effect was in 2009…so its not like the issue was off their radar screen. They could have rammed through a LOT of legislation with no obstruction. They chose not to do this one issue because its an issue that pays dividends in the future elections. Democrats depend on being able to play on the emotions of those less critically thinking to maintain power. Its why they’re concerned about a lot of other issues that Americans actually support…like Voter ID laws. They pretend to be for equal pay when its already prohibited by law. Its another issue that pays dividends too. Remember Lilly Ledbetter law….why didn’t they incorporate this into that?…because they can use it again!!!

          • mabramso

            Well said!

    • Jack Everett

      Is that why republicans keep trying to block the equal pay bill lol.

      • BYUDC

        The GOP barely has a leg to stand on regarding any issue these days, but at least the GOP shows their hand – Dems just flat out lie on this one. If they were serious about this, then push it all the time, not just every even year.

  • Kevin Fowler

    No doubt the House of Representatives Democrats have attach rider bills that the Senate Republicans did not want. Now the bill has to go though the process again but in the meantime the Republicans will get the blame.

    • TRonJ

      Few people actually care….it doesn’t resonate with voters as much as the Democrats would like…even with women.

      • northstate

        How would you know what resonates with women, TronJ? Have you taken a poll? I worked for 30 years and finally achieved pay equity when I went into an administrative job. Before that, I earned less than men who were working in benefits. If women are doing the same job as men are, they should be paid the same wage for the same job. Women are no longer just working for “additional income”; they are working to support families and to help their husbands, if married, to carry the financial load. Yes, people do care, even if you do not.

        • TRonJ

          Actually yes…there has been research done. Its not a very salient issue. It may be with you and others but by in large its not something that has much meaning. Democrats know its not a big issue otherwise they would have been happy with the Lillly Ledbetter Bill. They’re bring it up now in hopes of creating a wedge in with independents because its election year. Thirty years ago was a LONG, LONG time ago and much as changed. The pay difference isn’t there today like it used to be. It was illegal back then but its far more corporate knowledge today that it was back then.

      • NebraskANN

        During my first job out of college, I began to suspect that I was being paid less than my male counterparts. We had the same job, worked the same shift, etc. When I asked my supervisor about it, he told me that, of course, I was paid less than my male counterparts. Why? Because they would some day have a wife to support, he said, while my parents would be giving me a trousseau.(I should pause a moment to let the stupidity that reason really sink in.) Turned out that every woman in our department was being paid less than the men. Anyway, I told him it was illegal. He said it wasn’t, but checked with personnel to make sure. Turned out I was right, and I wound up with a raise that doubled my income. Women don’t want to sue. They just want employers to realize that equal pay for equal work is the right thing to do. Tron, it DOES matter.

        • TRonJ

          Since you admit it was illegal back then, why do we need a new law?

          • NebraskANN

            We need a new law with enough teeth in it that employers recognize it’s in their best interests to pay equal salaries for equal work.

          • TRonJ

            Then this isn’t the law you want. This law is to pacify the trial lawyers that are the #1 donors to Democrats. State laws are far more critical because the vast majority of these issues are played out in state courts, not federal. You can’t take your employer to your local state/county district court to enforce federal law. I’m not well versed on every state law but most states already have this on the books…so its redundant. From practicality, large employers get it…they have large HR departments who ensure compliance. Violations are far more likely to happen in small businesses. If you as a individual or a small group of folks want to take a case to federal court…you going to have a LONG LONG wait….plan on a decade…seriously…after all the appeals play out. This wasn’t a law designed to create social change…it was political. If you talk to folks that have read the law, its junk. It wasn’t given consideration to make it useful. It was designed to embarrass Republicans without any real intention of becoming law.

    • northstate

      What, exactly do Republicans in Congress want? To date, they want nothing. They vote no on everything. Their sole function is to destroy any chance of meaningful legislation passing. Not the most educated or sophisticated Republican bunch. Compare them to men like Everett Dirksen. Compare this bunch to any prior Republicans who came to Washington to participate in government. So far, these yahoos have shut down the government at the height of tourist season, costing D.C. and the government a lot of money. When your Party faithful are willing to follow a loser like Ted Cruz, you aren’t doing what you were elected to do: legislate and govern.

      • TRonJ

        We’re in a stalemate. Republicans aren’t going to start working on bills knowing that Democrats are going to say “no” leading up to a campaign season. The committee staffs that hammer out the policy, hold hearings and the like…they’re not even really involved either. This law and a few others aren’t crafted as serious policy where the back offices do what they’re supposed to do. These bills are like decoys….they lack real substance and everyone knows they will never become law….they’re there to do one thing…make the other side look bad.

        By the way, October is one of the quietest months in DC….tourism was NOT affected.

      • mabramso

        I can tell you what the Republicans in Congress want — to prevent Obama’s agenda from passing. Why? Because they believe it is bad for the country. And to that end, they have mostly succeeded in their goals. And your comment about education/sophistication is a cheap shot. People who can’t debate the issue with substance engage in name-calling. And regarding shutting down the government, BOTH parties acted like petty, spoiled children. But in the end, no one will care in November — at least not enough to change the election results.

  • Santiago Alemedia

    This is also known as the Eternal Bounty for Lawyers Bill. Businesses would be spending a lot of time and money defending claims, many frivolous and vengeful.

  • pitch1934

    We wouldn’t be having this problem if we were more organized in the work place. Union contracts call for pay for jobs performed not for gender pay. Don’t agonize, organize.

  • Jack Everett

    lol this is great and shows how much lip service comes from the house of obstruction. “WE support women but not enough to pay them!

  • TRonJ

    Bingo. The masses are being played. Democrats are emotionally driven and motivated by power rather than doing good policy.

  • MaleMatters

    Here’s what Obama and the Democrats don’t want anyone to know about women, men, and the wage gap:

    In general, women not only live longer and enjoy better health than men, who die sooner and at a higher rate of the 12 leading causes of death, they also control most of consumer spending and most of the nation’s wealth. Soon they will control even more.

    “Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion. Many Boomer women will experience a double inheritance windfall, from both parents and husband.” -http://www.she-conomy.com/facts-on-women

    I suspect that many if not most of women’s advocates think employers are greedy profiteers who’d hire only illegal immigrants for their lower labor cost if they could get away with it. Or who’d move their business to a cheap-labor country to save money. Or replace older workers with younger ones for the same reason. So why do these same advocates think employers would NOT hire only women if, as they say, employers DO get away with paying females at a lower rate than males for the same work?

    Here’s one of countless examples showing that some of the most sophisticated women in the country choose to earn less while getting paid at the same rate as their male counterparts:

    “In 2011, 22% of male physicians and 44% of female physicians worked less than full time, up from 7% of men and 29% of women from Cejka’s 2005 survey.” ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/03/26/bil10326.htm

    A thousand laws won’t close that gap.

    In fact, no law yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not affirmative action (which has benefited mostly white women, the group most vocal about the wage gap – tinyurl.com/74cooen), not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not the 1991 Glass Ceiling Commission created by the Civil Rights Act, not the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, not diversity, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the thousands of company mentors for women, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is another feel-good bill that turned into another do-nothing law (political intentions disguised as good intentions do not necessarily make things better; sometimes they make things worse)…. Nor will a “paycheck fairness” law work.

    That’s because women’s pay-equity advocates, who always insist one more law is needed, continue to overlook the effects of female AND male behavior:

    Despite the 40-year-old demand for women’s equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Women,” stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. “In the past few years,” he says in a CNN report at tinyurl.com/6reowj, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier….” at tinyurl.com/qqkaka. If indeed a higher percentage of women is staying at home, perhaps it’s because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs — so why bother working outside the home if they’re going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman, as illustrated by such titles as this: “Gender wage gap sees women spend 7 weeks working for nothing” http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/cwgbaueysnsn/rss2/.)

    As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Answer: Because they’re supported by their husband, an “employer” who pays them to stay at home. (Far more wives are supported by a spouse than are husbands.)

    The implication of this is probably obvious to most 12-year-olds but seems incomprehensible to, or is wrongly dismissed as irrelevant by, feminists and the liberal media: If millions of wives are able to accept NO wages, millions of other wives, whose husbands’ incomes vary, are more often able than husbands to:

    -accept low wages

    -refuse overtime and promotions

    -choose jobs based on interest first, wages second — the reverse of what men tend to do (The most popular job for American women as of 2010 is still secretary/administrative assistant, which has been a top ten job for women for the last 50 years. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/gender-wage-gap_n_3424084.html)

    -take more unpaid days off

    -avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (tinyurl.com/3a5nlay)

    -work fewer hours than their male counterparts, or work less than full-time more often than their male counterparts (as in the above example regarding physicians)

    Any one of these job choices lowers women’s median pay relative to men’s. And when a wife makes one of the choices, her husband often must take up the slack, thereby increasing HIS pay.

    Women who make these choices are generally able to do so because they are supported — or, if unmarried, anticipate being supported — by a husband who feels pressured to earn more than if he’d chosen never to marry. (Married men earn more than single men, but even many men who shun marriage, unlike their female counterparts, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap: as a group they tend more than women to pass up jobs that interest them for ones that pay well.

    Other ways men help create the gap:

    -Far more men than women link their self-worth to their net-worth.

    -Far more women than men seek spouses with a high net-worth (hypergamy)

    -Far more single women than single men ask prospective dates, “What do you do?” And they listen more closely to the answer.

    -Far more women than men expect their spouse to be the primary provider who will give them the option of staying at home to raise the children, while the spouse raises the income that pays her to raise the children.

    -Far more women look at a prospective spouse as an “employer” who will pay them to stay at home when they choose to do so.

    “The more alarming wage gap might be the one between mothers and childless women: One recent paper (http://www.npr.org/2012/02/07/146522483/the-wage-gap-between-moms-other-working-women) found that women with kids make roughly 7 to 14 percent less than women without them.” So why do organized feminists and the liberal media focus only on — and criticize — the wage gap between men and women? http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/02/the-mommy-track-myth/283557/

    More in “Does the Ledbetter Act Help Women?” at http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/will-the-ledbetter-fair-pay-act-help-women/

    See also:

    “Feminists don’t want you to know how women help create the wage gap: Women ‘want rich husbands, not careers’” http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/what-feminists-dont-want-you-to-know-women-want-rich-husbands-not-careers/

    Excerpt:

    “By the late 1990s, the proportion of women who were ‘marrying up’ had almost doubled to 38 percent. Similar patterns are seen across much of Europe, the US and Australia. Hakim said many women did not want to admit that they were looking for a higher earning partner. They even keep the fact secret from the men they are dating, Catherine Hakim said.”

  • http://couchtuner.eu Los

    Is there a website that has posted the actual legislation? Also, if Equal Pay is the LEFT’s new “war on women” tactic, let’s note that women in President Obama’s administration are paid less than men.

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