Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Senate Republicans Kill Paycheck Fairness Act for Women: Barefoot & Pregnant, Preferred Choice for American Women

In typical obstructionist and regressive fashion, Senate Republicans all voted to end debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Because of this, women in America are forced to earn 77 cents on every dollar earned by American males. And yes, this is life in America 45 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act.

And of course, the gap is worse for women of color than non-minority women: black women earn 61 cents, and Latinas earn 52 cents per dollar earned by white non-Hispanic men. My guess is that Senate Republicans would love nothing more than for women to be barefoot and pregnant, while relegated to to a life of domestic servitude in kitchens all across America.

Not that I have to tell you how much of a slap in the face this is to women (and anyone interested in a more egalitarian society), but here's this via a researcher with Progressive Media , Rebecca Lefton, to help put this into perspective:
Women are half of all U.S. workers and mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families. The Paycheck Fairness Act would be critical to strengthening the economic security of these families. The bill would have updated the landmark Equal Pay Act of 1963 by closing loopholes, strengthening incentives to prevent pay discrimination, and prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages. The act would have also addressed pay secrecy, which is a prevalent problem prohibiting employees from knowing whether discriminatory practices are occurring.

Not a single Republican supported the bill, including Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME), who had previously voted in favor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which removed 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.”
Clearly, as evidenced by the votes of Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, as Republican representatives, partisanship trumps gender equality. Something I'd like to see them explain to the women in their respective constituencies. But again, this is nothing new, as most (if not all) Republicans tend to vote against their best interests, to kowtow party leadership.

President Barack Obama, like many of us, is sincerely disappointed, and had this to say: "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."

Get used to it, Barry; the Republicans, are who, we thought they were!


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