Senate Republicans Block Paycheck Fairness Act

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Senate Republicans Block Paycheck Fairness Act

Emily Crockett

Senate Republicans once again blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act from advancing on Monday, after having allowed it to move forward last week.

Senate Republicans once again blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act from advancing on Monday, after having allowed it to move forward last week.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which needed 60 votes to advance, but failed 52 to 40, would have strengthened protections against gender-based pay discrimination. Republicans opposed it because they claim it would line the pockets of trial lawyers.

Republicans have voted against the act four times, counting procedural votes, since 2012. They blocked the bill earlier this year on a 53-44 vote, which prompted President Obama to sign an executive order to extend the same protections to workers employed by federal government contractors.

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell objected that Democrats designed the bill to fail as a political show vote, Republicans seemed to have political motives of their own in letting the bill move one step further in the legislative process. It wasted Senate floor time that could be used to advance other measures in the Democratic “Fair Shot” agenda like minimum wage increases or student loan refinancing, and it still resulted in the bill being blocked.

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The Paycheck Fairness Act would have prohibited retaliation against workers who discuss their salaries, which makes it easier for women to learn that they are being paid unfairly based on their gender.

It would have also required employers to prove that pay disparities are legitimate, required the Department of Labor to collect wage information based on gender, allowed workers to sue for wage discrimination, and created a grant program to train women on wage negotiation skills.

Women’s groups condemned Republicans for voting against the bill.

Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, said the vote “makes painfully clear that, despite claims to the contrary, many lawmakers are not serious about ensuring women and men are paid equally in this country.”