Vote Out Those who Blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act

Gender pay gap by ethnicity

Image by Sonicyouth, via Wikimedia Commons under this Creative Commons license:

On April 9, Melissa Francis of Fox Business said that the gender pay gap is probably a good thing, because the lower pay means that companies can afford to keep women on staff during difficult times. This was just after Senate Republicans had blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. They had a variety of reasons for it, and they have a variety of reasons for disagreeing with any bill aimed at reinforcing the Equal Pay Act, but they bottom line is, they blocked it for the third time.

The Equal Pay Act of 1964, and the Lily Ledbetter Act, still haven’t brought equal pay for equal work to the workplace. The Senate GOP sees the Paycheck Fairness Act as redundant in the face of all the anti-discrimination laws we already have. According to The New York Times, they said it was “the latest ploy in the Democrats’ election-year playbook.”

Many of the Senate’s Republicans seem to think that equal pay, under that law, would make it impossible to tie pay to qualifications, education, and experience. That they couldn’t give raises based on performance and productivity, according to an article in Forbes. However, that isn’t true.

The Paycheck Fairness Act was not a “new law,” and would not make it harder to pay workers based on their qualifications and performance. It would have amended the Equal Pay Act of 1964 to strengthen enforcement of current equal pay laws. It would have limited pay differences to actual reasons, such as experience and education levels. Employers would have been required to demonstrate that a woman earning less for a job than a man in the same job was because of her experience, training or education. It would also allow employees to discuss their pay openly without retaliation from their companies.

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said, in 2013, that women don’t want equal pay written into the law. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and against the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that it was just a way to make it easier for people to sue employers. Ted Cruz thinks the current law is enough, and that Democrats are just trying to score points.

Senate Republicans were also upset because Democrats wouldn’t consider their amendment. Most of the amendment did the same thing as the Act itself. However, they wanted to consolidate job-training programs to get rid of duplicates, and provide grants to create industry partnerships between industries and each state. In and of itself, that is not a problem. However, it wouldn’t have authorized new funding for such an effort, meaning that new costs, if there were any, would have at least partially fallen on our already-broke state governments.

Anybody that would block something to strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1964 needs to be voted out of office this November. For whatever reason, they think this is a small issue. Given that it’s 2014, and women still aren’t paid as much as men for the same work, it’s not a small issue. It shouldn’t be a small issue. Here’s proof that the GOP does not care about women.


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