Today Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas told their sistahs to just eat cake. A lone Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, followed their lead like a bird dog in heat.
All three, who had previously voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, joined the Good Old Boys We-Hate-Women Club to kill the Paycheck Fairness Act.
The Lilly Ledbetter Act removed the barriers blocking workers from seeking compensation from discriminatory pay practices. At the time, Snowe said, “This new law sends a clear message to the American people that this Congress is committed to these core principles and will continue to work in bipartisan fashion to break down the barriers of wage discrimination in our nation."
The Paycheck Fairness Act would have helped end discriminatory pay practices against women by making it easier for them to sue their employers.
"More than 45 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, the pay gap shockingly persists with women still earning on average 77 cents to every man’s dollar. According to the National Women’s Law Center, 'This persistent pay gap translates to more than $10,000 in lost wages per year for the average female worker.”'The gap is even worse for women of color: African-American women earn 61 cents and Latinas earn 52 cents for every dollar a white non-Hispanic man earns."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called Wednesday's failure of the Senate to end debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act on a 58-41 vote, "outrageous" and "egregious."
"If we care about our country's future and we care about our children we will support fair pay," she said today on MSNBC. "I think it was a partisan vote I think it was egregious and it's just a sorry state of some people in Washington who put politics first and people last."
Think Progress reports, "Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has a long record of opposing women’s rights urged Congress to vote against the act, as it did with Lilly Ledbetter in 2009."
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) also opposed the bill. Keith Smith, director of Employment and Labor Policy for NAM, said, "Manufacturers are committed to fair pay in the workplace, but it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which this bill would not have led to lower wages and fewer jobs."
The failure of this bill to pass should be a wake-up call to all Republican women everywhere, especially single mothers who are having trouble just eking out a living. It should also be a wake-up call to Democratic women to get active in order to ensure that Republicans can't keep screwing them in the back. Obviously the Grand Old Party is more interested in playing politics than it is in making life just a little easier for the working woman.
In an update, President Obama "put out a strong statement slamming the Senate GOP for blocking the bill: "I am deeply disappointed that a minority of Senators have prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from finally being brought up for a debate and receiving a vote. This bill passed in the House almost two years ago; today, it had 58 votes to move forward, the support of the majority of Senate, and the support of the majority of Americans. ... But a partisan minority of Senators blocked this commonsense law."