Senate Republicans Block Equal Pay Protection For Women — For The Fourth Time
When it comes to equal pay for women, the fourth time wasn't the charm.
Senate Republicans gave the Paycheck Fairness Act the filibuster-to-death treatment Monday, ending the Democrats' bid to implement stricter pay discrimination penalties, require companies to report and account for any wage gaps and prevent employers from retaliating against employees who share wage information with each other.
It may not seem like a good look in an election year, but it's not like this is the Republicans' first rodeo — they've filibustered the bill four times since 2011.
Senate Republicans claim that the bill guaranteeing equal pay would actually make the job market worse for women.
Their reasoning states that businesses would be so scared of potential litigation from their workers that they would avoid hiring women at all. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called it "legislation [that] would double down on job loss, all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers" when it last came up for a vote back in April, reported the Huffington Post.
The big criticism this time around is that the Democrats knew it wouldn't go anywhere and are wasting time to make a point during election season. "Why are they wasting time on political show votes?" Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told the Hill.
If the Democrats are just making a point, it's because they have a point to make. Despite equal pay laws already on the books, women still don't make as much as men, and part of that is due to unequal pay for equal work.
Despite the Republicans' best efforts to reframe the issue, a bill like this means a lot to voters. A Republican-commissioned report last month found that women "believe that 'enforcing equal pay for equal work' is the policy that would 'help women the most'" and that GOP politicians "fail to speak to women in the different circumstances in which they live," according to Politico.
"It's time for Democrats to get serious," McConnell said in a statement about multiple bills he said were designed to fail. "All they want is fodder for campaign commercials."
Maybe so. But when the response here is to deny that the wage gap is even a problem, the Republicans are making it a little too easy for them.