Senate GOP Blocks Fair Pay, Continues War on Women

We may be less than two months away from election day, but that whole “trying to appeal to women voters” plan of the GOP is already falling to shambles. The latest? The Republicans of the Senate have blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. Again.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would ban companies from enforcing paycheck secrecy, which many businesses have long used as a means of ensuring that their employees don’t know what their pay is in comparison to other employees doing the same jobs or with the same amount of experience. It also would reduce the number of excuses that a company can provide if it is caught paying a female employee less than a male employee in the same position, and increase the penalties if such a discrepancy were discovered.

Considering how often the GOP claims that they understand that what women are really interested in is economic issues and well paying jobs, you would think promoting equity in pay would be something they could get on board with. Sadly, you would be wrong.

In fact, this is the fourth time that Republicans have blocked the bill, according to Laura Bassett at Huffington Post. “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,” reports Bassett. “Senate Democrats have brought the bill to the floor four times since 2011, and each time Republicans have rejected it.”

“Today Senate Republicans had an opportunity to vote for equal pay legislation and affect real change for hardworking women, but they chose to show their true priorities once again by clinging to their extreme agenda at the expense of the millions of women and families counting on them,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List, in an emailed statement Monday. “Ending gender discrimination in pay would improve the lives of working families from coast to coast. Economic opportunity for women is a top issue for voters in 2014, and come November women voters will not forget that Republicans had an opportunity to stand with them and instead stood in their way.”

“Once again, Republicans refused to join with Democrats to ensure that women are paid fairly and that they have the legal tools they need to fight pay discrimination when it occurs,” said Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Some GOP Senators have even gone beyond opposing the legislation to belittling the very idea of voting on Paycheck Fairness, calling it a waste of time, and a show vote. Sadly, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Republicans continue to put rigid partisanship before what’s best for the people that elected them.”

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against the measure, his Democratic challenger, Allison Lundergan Grimes, used the vote to remind Kentuckians that pay should not be subject to the gender of the person doing the work. “Moments ago, Mitch McConnell blocked legislation to ensure equal pay for equal work,” Grimes posted on her Facebook page, with a link asking supporters to show their support for fair pay legislation. “Equal pay for equal work is critical for our economy, our families and our children. It is outrageous that in 2014 a woman can still be paid less than one of her male counterparts for the exact same work. This is about fairness and economic opportunity for all. Pay discrimination is holding families back. Equal pay is not only an ideal, it should be a guarantee. That’s the message we have to send to Republicans in Congress now,” the statement read.

Interestingly, female GOP Senate candidates such as Terry Lynn Land of Michigan, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia do not appear to have made statements regarding the most recent Senate vote.

With election just around the corner, it would have been a wonderful gesture to women voters for GOP members of the Senate to prove their alleged love of women voters and their significant contribution to America’s economy by helping them to earn more than the mere 77 cents on the dollar that their male counterparts earn for equal work. Then again, when it comes to supporting women, the Republicans have always been better at playing lip service to the idea than actually promoting policies that help.

Some things, it seems, never change. Not even in an election year.