Senate Republicans kill Paycheck Fairness Act

SENATE REPUBLICANS KILL PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT…. In the last Congress, the House approved the Paycheck Fairness Act, only to see it die in the face of a Republican filibuster. This year, it’s happened again.

The first bill President Obama signed after taking office was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for women to seek justice for pay discrimination. At the time, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) joined with Democrats to overcome strong Republican opposition to the bill.

But today, all three Republican senators voted against a motion to proceed on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that “would further strengthen current laws against gender-based wage discrimination.” […]

Women earn barely three-quarters of what their male counterparts make for the same work, but conservatives have invented a number of ludicrous reasons for opposing equal pay legislation. For example, the Heritage Foundation has suggested that equal pay laws actually hurt women because businesses simply won’t hire them if they are required to pay them fair wages. And Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has claimed that women would receive better compensation if they just had more “education and training.”

The final tally was 58 senators supporting the measure, and 41 opposing. Because our Senate is often ridiculous, 41 trumps 58.

What’s more, note that this was only a vote on the motion to proceed. In other words, opponents didn’t just disagree with the proposal, they filibustered a measure that would have let the Senate debate the idea.

And what did those opponents have in common? Looking at the roll call, every Republican in the chamber voted to kill the Paycheck Fairness Act, while every Democratic except one supported it. The lone exception was, of course, Ben Nelson.

Soon after, President Obama issued a statement, noting, “I am deeply disappointed that a minority of Senators have prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from finally being brought up for a debate and receiving a vote. This bill passed in the House almost two years ago; today, it had 58 votes to move forward, the support of the majority of Senate, and the support of the majority of Americans. As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in history, this bill would ensure that American women and their families aren’t bringing home smaller paychecks because of discrimination. It also helps businesses that pay equal wages as they struggle to compete against discriminatory competition. But a partisan minority of Senators blocked this commonsense law. Despite today’s vote, my Administration will continue to fight for a woman’s right to equal pay for equal work.”