Playing Politics With Violence Against Women
An ad from Alison Lundergan Grimes knocks Sen. Mitch McConnell for voting two times against the Violence Against Women Act evidence, Grimes concludes, that McConnell has forgotten that over half the voters in Kentucky are women.
But McConnell has never opposed the central purpose of the Violence Against Women Act. In fact, he was a cosponsor of the original bill in 1991, and he has twice supported its reauthorization.
McConnell did vote against a massive crime bill that included the VAWA because it also contained a ban on assault weapons. And he more recently voted against reauthorization of VAWA in 2012 and 2013 because he opposed Democratic expansions of the bill that included provisions for same-sex couples and immigrants, and one that would have allowed Native American tribal courts to try non-Native Americans accused of domestic violence on reservations. In both cases, McConnell supported Republican alternatives to those bills that he claimed would have strengthened the Violence Against Women Act.
Throughout her campaign, Grimes has highlighted womens issues, and her campaign website says that the contrast between her and McConnell on that front could not be starker. Drawing that contrast is the aim of this latest ad, the third in a series that features a Kentucky resident sitting beside Grimes and posing a rhetorical question to McConnell. We previously reviewed the first two installments, one on Medicare, the other on jobs.
McConnells History on VAWA
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
In the 2007 case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the Supreme Court upended longstanding precedent and held that employees could not sue for pay discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if their employers original discriminatory pay decision occurred more than 180 days before they initiated a claim.
Congress acted swiftly to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to overturn the Courts decision. The Act made it clear that each discriminatory paycheck not just an employers original decision to engage in pay discrimination resets the period of time during which a worker may file a claim of pay discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, age, religion and disability.
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Its another delay in a decades-long effort to close the wage gap, which has the potential of widening after this recession. According to a study by economists at Northwestern University, past recessions have typically narrowed the gender pay gap because men were more likely to lose their jobs and return to work in lower positions after being out for an extended period of time. But the pandemic recession will have the opposite effect, widening the gap because its women, this time, who will be out of work longer than men.
The Paycheck Fairness Act sought to build on past legislation the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 to eliminate the gap. The bill would require employers to prove why a pay disparity exists, bar them from asking employees about their salary history and build in more transparency and avenues for recourse if workers feel their employers are paying them unfairly.
One of the other reasons for the persisting gender wage gap is the jobs workers are concentrated in. Women work in two-thirds of the 40 lowest paid jobs in the country, and men are concentrated in the highest earning fields, driving the gap in earnings.
Murray said that argument is offensive.
Economists who have studied the gender pay gap have said unequivocally that the issue goes beyond personal choice.
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Why These Republican Women Voted Against Equal Pay For All
In a not-so-surprising move, Republican senators, including all four Republican women, unanimously voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act on Monday night. The law would make it easier for employees to talk about wagesâand potentially help women learn whether they earn less than their male colleagues. It would also force employers to explain or justify why two similarly qualified workers earn different wages.
This is the third time since 2012 that Republicans have voted down the bill.
Pay disparities between women and men are a reality. Recent research that in some industriesâsuch as financeâwomen earn as little as 66 percent of menâs wages. Overall women take home about 71 cents for every dollar men earn.
Low-income women also suffer from gender-based wealth disparities. According to the National Womenâs Law Center, the poverty rate for women is 13 percent, while only 11 percent of men live in poverty. Women in low-wage jobs make 13 percent less than men who do similar work.
Senate Gop Blocks Paycheck Fairness Act For The Second Time
Senate Republicans on Monday blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that Democrats are pushing as part of their message to women in the midterm elections.
Democrats needed 60 votes to advance the legislation but fell short in a 52-40 vote. Sen. Angus King , who caucuses with Democrats, voted against the bill.
Republicans had blocked the same bill earlier this year in a 53-44 vote.
Senate Democrats said they were giving Republicans another opportunity to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work.
A woman who performs the same work as a man should be paid the same as a man, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBiden grapples with twin crisesFive takeaways from Biden’s week of chaos in AfghanistanWhite House seeks to shield Biden from GOP attacks on crime issue said. Senate Republicans simply cannot accept that notion. American women deserve better.
The Paycheck Fairness Act is part of Democrats Fair Shot agenda that is meant to draw a contrast with the GOP ahead of Novembers election. The Senate is also expected to vote on raising the minimum wage and allowing students to refinance their loans, all measures that have already failed this year.
Republicans say the Democrats are wasting time on political show votes. The Senate will need to pass a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government funded after Sept. 30 or the government will shut down.
Republicans need six seats to gain control of the Senate.
These 2 Nj Republicans Sponsored Equal Pay For Women Bill Then Voted No Heres Why
New Jersey Republican Congressmen Rep. Jeff Van Drew, center, and Rep. Chris Smith, right, voted against a bill they co-sponsored after it was amended to the point where they could no longer back it. Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media
Alone among House Republicans, Rep. Chris Smith two years ago co-sponsored legislation outlawing pay discrimination against women. When the bill was reintroduced this year, Smith co-sponsored it again, joined by New Jerseys other House Republican, Jeff Van Drew.
But when the House passed the legislation Thursday, both Smith, R-4th Dist., and Van Drew, R-2nd Dist., voted no. The third Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., was the only member of his party to vote yes.
The two New Jersey lawmakers said the bill that reached the House floor was not the one they agreed to support, and Smith said it was too late to remove their names once they saw the changes.
Its not the same bill, Van Drew spokesman Scott Weldon said.
Smith said the bill was amended to include benefits for pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, and that repeatedly has been interpreted to include abortion coverage.
Im committed to equal pay for equal work, Smith said. Im not for forcing employees, including churches and synagogues, to subsidize abortion on demand.
The measure passed in a 217-210 vote, and it advances to the Senate.
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Most Republicans Oppose Measure Say There Are Better Ways To Get Pay Parity Without Lawsuits
House Democrats on Wednesday passed another one of their top party priorities, a bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act that is designed to help close the gender pay gap.
HR 7 passed, 242-187, with only seven Republican votes. Those included New Jerseys , an original cosponsor of the bill, Floridas Mario Diaz-Balart, Idahos Mike Simpson, New Yorks Tom Reed, Texas Will Hurd, Pennsylvanias Brian Fitzpatrick and Illinois Rodney Davis. All 235 House Democrats voted for the measure.
Smith and Diaz-Balart are the only two Republicans left in the House who voted for prior versions of the bill when Democrats brought it the floor the last two Congresses they were in the majority. In 2008, it passed , with 14 Republicans supporting it. And in 2010, it passed 256-163, with 10 Republicans backing it.
Diaz-Balart told Roll Call before the vote that he planned to remain consistent and vote for the measure because it was not substantially different from the prior versions. But he lamented that Democrats werent willing to address Republican concerns to make the bill more bipartisan.
I wish that Democrats had actually put something forward that actually could get close to becoming law, he said. Theres things I dont like in it, obviously, but I have voted for it, in essence, twice before.
Republicans opposing the legislation said it would open the door to frivolous lawsuits.
Flashback: Pelosi, Lewis and House Democrats unveil legislative agenda for 116th
Gop Blocks Equal Pay Bill In Senate
Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation designed by Democrats to mobilize women voters in the midterm elections.
The bill, which would require employers to be more transparent about wages and prohibit them from retaliating against workers who raise concerns about pay, failed to get the 60 votes needed to move forward with debate. The vote comes a day after a well-publicized, coordinated push on equal pay by the White House and congressional Democrats. But the latter arent bothered by that failure — they expected it, and the rejection allows them to keep hitting Republicans on the issue moving toward November.
For some unknown reason, Senate Republicans do not appear to be interested in closing the wage gap for working women, Majority Leader Harry Reid said before the vote, which fell mostly on party lines.
Republicans, though, seem unbothered by recording a vote against this bill, which they have dismissed as a political ploy to benefit Democrats in an election year. GOP senators argued that its already illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace, and that the legislation regarding pay regulation would open the doors to frivolous lawsuits.
GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has criticized Democrats push for the bill as a way to move voters focus away from the health care law.
Senate Republicans Reject Equal Pay Bill
On Tuesday, during a news conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wondered out loud whether Republican senators who had tweeted support for the idea of equal pay for equal work could be counted on to vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014.
On Wednesday, Pelosi got her answer.
Despite weeks of heavy messaging, Democrats failed to get a single GOP vote as the third attempt in recent years to pass the wage equality legislation fell six votes short.
The promise of equal pay for equal work should not be a partisan issue it should be a matter of common sense and fairness, an essential step for the security of our families, the growth of our economy, and the strength of our middle class, Pelosi said in a statement after the vote.
Unfortunately, Senate Republicans disagree, she added.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski , had 52 sponsors, but Democrats were unable to persuade Republicans to vote for the legislation, which needed to clear a 60-vote threshold to open debate on the bill.
Had it passed, the bill would have made it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who inquire about or disclose their wages or the wages of other employees in a complaint or investigation. It also would make employers subject to civil actions by employees who feel aggrieved. As part of the bill, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would be required to collect pay information from employers.
There Still Isnt Unity Among Democrats On The Filibuster
Senate Democrats are still fractured as ever on eliminating the filibuster, with Manchin and Sinema among those who are the most vocal opponents of such a move. I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster, Manchin recently reiterated in a Charleston Gazette op-ed.
Other senators in the Democratic caucus have recently signaled that they have reservations about getting rid of the filibuster as well, although some, including Sens. Jacky Rosen and Angus King , have indicated a willingness to consider it if necessary.
Its unclear just how much these votes could potentially sway them if at all. For months Manchin and Sinema have emphasized that theyre focused on preserving the filibuster so the minority still has a voice in the Senate. What repeated failed votes could do is establish a record Democrats can point to if they ultimately pursue rules changes.
Its an effort that echoes how Democrats built up to reforms to the nominees filibuster in 2013, when Republicans slow-walked appointees put forth by President Barack Obama. That year, Democrats voted to do away with the filibuster on most presidential nominees after Obamas defense secretary pick, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pick, and Circuit Court judge picks ran into Republican obstruction.
He seems intent on maintaining the same position meaning the filibuster is likely here to stay, for now.
Senate Republicans Propose Stripped
in Congress have taken a lot of heat over the past few years for repeatedly blocking ‘ equal pay legislation, so this year GOP women senators are proposing a bill of their own to combat the gender wage gap. But the GOP’s stripped-down version of the Paycheck Fairness Act has so far garnered nothing but eye rolls from across the aisle.
Sen. Deb Fischer , joined by GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte , Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito , introduced the Workplace Advancement Act last week, which would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for talking to each other about their salaries. The retaliation provision is one of many in the Democrats’ Paycheck Fairness Act, which would also require employers to report wage data broken down by gender to the federal government, set up negotiation skills training programs for women and girls, and help women sue for back pay once they realize they’ve been earning less than their male colleagues for the same work.
Republicans have blocked the Democrats’ bill three times in the Senate, claiming that it would cause job losses. Now that the GOP controls the Senate, Fischer is challenging Democrats to support her bill, since it’s the only one with a chance of getting a vote.
Fischer’s office pointed out that two Democrats and one independent, Sens. Angus King , Joe Donnelly and Joe Manchin , supported her equal pay amendment to the GOP’s fiscal 2016 budget, saying that means they’d be likely to support her bill.
All For Equal Pay But Not This Bill
Heres a radical notion: It is simultaneously possible to believe that women are entitled to equal pay and to not support the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Not that youd know it from the rhetoric President Obama and fellow Democrats are happily flinging at Republicans who dare to oppose the measure.
I dont know why you would resist the idea that women should be paid the same as men and then deny that thats not always happening out there, Obama said Tuesday. If Republicans in Congress want to show that they do, in fact, care about women being paid the same as men, then show me. They can join us, in this, the 21st century and vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Last week, as Senate Republicans blocked the measure from moving forward on the floor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a similar blast. If Senate Republicans are ideologically opposed to ensuring equal pay for equal work, they are free to vote against passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, he offered.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., went even further. It is outrageous that in 2014 some in Congress apparently still think that women dont deserve to earn the same amount as a man for doing the same job, she said in a statement.
Oh come on.
House Republicans Vote Against Equal Rights For Women
A House resolution removing the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment passed Thursday with just five GOP votes.
Nearly every House Republican voted against a resolution that could help ratify the Equal Rights Amendment on Thursday, citing a litany of excuses not to enshrine equality on the basis of sex in the Constitution.
The House of Representatives voted, 232 to 183, for a to remove the 1982 deadline for states to ratify the ERA. Five Republicans joined all 227 Democrats present in voting for the measure; 182 Republicans and a conservative independent voted against.
During Thursday’s floor debate, some Republicans they opposed the resolution on constitutional grounds, but many argued against the Equal Rights Amendment on its merits.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner warned that banning discrimination would mean women could no longer enjoy discounts. “Girls get substantially lower rates on auto insurance because they’re better drivers,” he said, adding that, with a constitutional ban on sex discrimination, such advantages “would become unconstitutional and girls are going to have to pay boy-drivers’ rates for auto insurance.”
Sensenbrenner also said that, although women “live longer than men,” women would also have to pay more for life insurance than they do now.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler said the ERA “would not bring women any more rights than they currently have right now.”
Senate Fails To Advance Paycheck Fairness Act
The Senate on Tuesday failed to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation intended to address the gender pay gap.
The big picture: The 49-50 vote saw Democrats in support and Republicans opposed. At least 60 votes were required to end the filibuster and move the measure to the floor for a vote.
The bill would “provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.”
- Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was the only republican to vote in favor.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Democrats’ agenda is up against GOP resistance, and is “transparently designed to fail,”CNN writes.
- Most Republicans support the Wage Equity Act, introduced by Rep. Elise Stefanik , which would encourage companies to voluntarily analyze employee pay and direct GAO, an independent government agency, to study the impacts of women leaving the workforce for family-related reasons.
What they’re saying: “he only way that a bill to provide equal pay to women is designed to fail is if Senate Republicans block it,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, per CNN.
Background: The legislation passed the House 217-210 in April along party lines, making it the fourth time Democrats have attempted to pass the act. It previously passed the House in 2008, 2009 and 2019.
Senate Republicans Defeat Womens Equal Pay Bill Again
WASHINGTONBy a party-line 50-49 vote, every Senate Republicaneven the womendefeated HR7, the bill to put teeth into the Equal Pay Act that helps working women. All 47 voting Democrats backed it, as did both independents. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was absent from the 6:42 pm vote on June 8. It was the fourth time the Senate Republicans beat the bill over the years.
The GOP phalanxs success meant senators couldnt even debate the Paycheck Fairness Act, HR7, which the Democratic-run House approved earlier this year. Instead, the GOP filibuster threat prevailed. The 50-50 Senate needs 60 votes to shut off such talkathon threats.
The loss is in line with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnells blockade of all Democratic legislation, and his embrace of both the corporate class agenda and of Trumpism. Republicans follow the Kentuckians orders like sheep.
Unions and womens groups strongly supported the legislation, authored, as usual, by influential Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. It would put teeth into the almost 60-year-old Equal Pay Act by eliminating corporate excuses for discriminating against women in pay. Instead, firms would have to prove unequal pay is not due to prejudice against women workers.
It also would make it easier for wronged women workers to find out, in broad categories, what their privileged male colleagues with the same credentials earn, and to sue if their pay isnt equal.
Republicans Filibuster Equal Pay Legislation In Latest Display Of Shameless Obstruction
Fix Our Senate: âThis is the latest example of Republican obstreperousness and another clear demonstration that the filibuster must be eliminated as Sen. McConnellâs weapon of partisan obstruction.â
Supermajority: “This is why we support eliminating the filibuster â because itâs too often a tactic to block racial justice and equity”
WASHINGTON, D.C. â Today, after Senate Republicans filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act, Sen. Patty Murrayâs bill to help address the gender pay gap in America, Fix Our Senate and Supermajority released the below statements calling on Democrats to finally eliminate the filibuster. Tonightâs vote comes on the heels of a Senate Republican filibuster that blocked the bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection and as the House continues to pass critical legislation destined to die in the Senate until the filibuster is fixed.
“Sen. McConnell is doing exactly what he promised to do: spending 100 percent of his energy blocking President Bidenâs popular agenda that is supported by a majority of Americans and a majority of their representatives in Congress,â said Fix Our Senate spokesman Eli Zupnick. âThis is the latest example of Republican obstreperousness and another clear demonstration that the filibuster must be eliminated as Sen. McConnellâs weapon of partisan obstruction.â
Equal Pay For Equal Work Seems Like A No
On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blockedfor the third timethe Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill proposing to close the pay gap between men and women. The goal of the billthe attainment of equal pay for equal workseems like a no-brainer, right? Women with the same job, and same qualifications, as men deserve to be paid the same. They do not deserve to be discriminated against in salary on the basis of gender. Seems obvious. And yet not a single Republican voted in favor of the Act, and many Americans no longer know what to think, either.
The problem is that the message has been greatly muddled, twisted, and usurped, mostly for political gain. Equal Pay has become less a noble, unquestionable goal than a political talking point. Democrats argue that wage disparities persist, pulling out the oft-cited figure that women, on average, earn 77 percent to a mans dollar. They accuse Republicans of failing the bill in favor of more important political agendas.
Which means that both parties want the same thing. So whats the problem? The problem, of course, is politics. And unfortunately nothing will happen until Democrats and Republicans agree to make Equal Pay a fairness issue rather than a political one. In the meantime, its women who suffer.
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The Equal Pay Act Today
The EPA, which passed as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1963, “prohibits discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.” Specifically, the EPA provides that employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal jobs and work at the same establishment. Substantially equal jobs has been interpreted to mean jobs that require similar skill , effort and responsibility, and are performed under similar working conditions. An employers work establishment is generally understood to mean a distinct physical place of business rather than an entire business or enterprise consisting of several places of business.
The EPA permits unequal pay for equal work if it is the result of wages being set pursuant to: 1) a seniority system; 2) a merit system; 3) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or 4) any factor other than sex. These four circumstances constitute the statute’s four affirmative defenses against claims of wage discrimination.
At the outset of a case, the employee has to establish a prima facie case of gender-based wage discrimination under the EPA by showing that different wages are paid to employees of the opposite sex who work in jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and are performed under similar working conditions in the same establishment. This is a very high burden to meet.