Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, marking the party’s second successful use of the filibuster since Joe Biden took office.
The legislation would have required employers to show that a gap in pay between a man and a woman existed because of job performance, education, training, and experience, rather than other factors that would affect the wage.
It would have also prohibited employers from retaliating against workers who shared information on their salary, blocked them from asking prospective employees about their salary history, and taking it into consideration.
Additionally, one provision in the bill sought to create a grant program to provide salary negotiation training for girls and women.
The Senate voted 49-50 for the legislation, which would have needed at least 60 votes in the chamber to pass. The bill was not expected to get approved by the Senate. The House passed the bill in a 217-210 vote in April.
Worth noting: The bill had no Republican sponsors in the Senate.
The filibuster: The vote marked the second time that Republicans used the filibuster to prevent a bill from moving forward. The first time the GOP blocked legislation was last month when they struck down the Jan. 6 commission bill.
What they’re saying: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the chief sponsor of the bill, said they moved forward with a vote, despite knowing that the GOP would not approve it, to “show people we’re trying, and this is the obstacle we’re facing,” according to the Washington Post.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the Democrats intentionally put the bill up for a vote in what he said was a sign that the “era of bipartisanship is over.”
“I think that’s coming to a screeching halt this month because the majority leader is starting with the so-called Paycheck Fairness bill late this afternoon, which is essentially a giveaway to the plaintiffs’ lawyers in America, a series of totally partisan bills designed to get no Republican support,” McConnell told reporters.
Democrats insist that the legislation is common sense and only aims to close the gender pay gap in the U.S.
“We’re hearing about how women are not returning to the market right now because of a number of reasons, including that they just aren’t getting paid enough to pay for child care and the other challenges they have,” Murray told Politico. “So if we want our economy to grow, we need to pay women what they’re worth.”
“This should not be a partisan bill. Any senator who agrees that women deserve to be paid fairly, for the work they do and who wants our families in our economy to fully recover from the economic harm of this pandemic should [have voted] for this legislation,” she said.
Republicans say pay discrimination is already against the law.
“I don’t think it’s a good bill. We have three statutes on the books that don’t allow pay discrepancy today. We need a fourth one?” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).
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