Senate Republicans this afternoon voted to block the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3220), yet another petty political move designed to stick it to the Democrats and eject President Obama from the White House.
Let’s be honest though – it isn’t some Democratic senator on the Hill who is going to feel the effects of this block. Not even Barack Obama himself will directly feel the effects of the Republican Party’s refusal to address important issues such as pay equity. It is ordinary working families who will be hit hardest by this latest example of Republicans turning a blind eye to issues that affect working Americans the most.
The Paycheck Fairness Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their salaries with their colleagues, closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, rewards employers who have fair and equitable pay practices, and helps small businesses adopt equal pay policies.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women who work full time on average still earn only 77 cents to every dollar men earn. The statistics are even worse for women of color.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also pointed out that 77 percent of Republicans support the Paycheck Fairness Act, along with 80 percent of men. He blamed Senate Republicans for being the only ones recalcitrant on the issue. Even Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn’t want to talk about equal pay.
Republicans insist time and time again that their party is not waging a war on women. They insist that the pay gap is a myth. Perhaps they fail to realize that women constitute over half of the country’s working population. Women’s earnings support families, buy groceries, pay for mortgages and college expenses. >
"To those of our colleagues who claim to be so concerned about the economy and the middle class, now is your chance to prove to your constituents that you really mean what you say," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. during debate.
Perhaps the vote to block the Paycheck Fairness Act was proof of how Senate Republicans truly feel about their women constituents. Last month Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, issued a statement calling the Paycheck Fairness Act “another election year distraction that will harm job creators,” a talking point that was repeated by Republicans on the Senate floor. It is clear that to Republicans on the Hill, women are a political “distraction” and not a living, breathing political constituency that deserves fair treatment in the economy.
At the “Take Back the American Dream” conference, there will be a plenary panel discussing the War on Women. Click here to register for the event!