GOP blocks 'paycheck fairness' bill in Senate
April 9th, 2014
12:12 PM ET
6 months ago

GOP blocks 'paycheck fairness' bill in Senate

(CNN) - Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a Democratic-backed proposal that aims to even the pay gap between men and women.

GOP members argued there are already laws against pay discrimination and the "paycheck fairness act" would lead to government interference in the workplace.

Republicans tried to offer multiple amendments, but Democrats refused to promise votes.

The measure now stalled in the Senate would have no chance of making it through the Republican-led House regardless.

The pay equity bill is one of a series of pocketbook issues Democrats are promoting ahead of the midterm elections this fall.

President Barack Obama is also promoting the issue this week, having called the income disparity between genders an "embarrassment."

On Tuesday, he highlighted so-called pay secrecy, which is the idea that women who are paid less than male coworkers may not know it because they don't know what other employees make.

Obama signed executive orders prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay and requesting new requirements for contractors to submit summaries of pay data, including a breakdown of sex and race.

Democratic strategists see equal pay as a way to galvanize the base and raise money for midterms that historically see less turnout and excitement than a presidential election year.

By keeping the issue in the news, Democrats hope to benefit in the long term by showcasing GOP presidential hopefuls who oppose equal pay protections.

According to CNN national exit polls, Democrats won the female vote 56%-43% in the 2008 presidential election and by 55%-44% in Obama's 2012 reelection.

But the GOP narrowly edged out the Democrats among women 49%-48% in the 2010 midterms, when Republicans, thanks to a landslide 63-seat pick up, won back the House, and made a major dent in the Democrats' Senate majority.

Many in the GOP see laws like the paycheck fairness measure as an effort to help trial lawyers mount cases. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said it would interfere with the free market.

CNN's Ted Barrett and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Senate
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Dannytelevision

    In politics this blocked bill is called a coffin nail. Why is the GOP still relevant?

    April 9, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. rs

    O.K., so the GOP wants to be painted as being against fair pay for women. That's cool. That 17 point loss for Mr. Romney with female votes didn't bother them.

    Now, about their line on this, they really need to get their act together. To wit:
    * One female Republican in the House declared women don't want equal pay (apparently affirming that there is a pay gap and Republican women don't like themselves)
    * Fox says there is no pay gap (The echo chamber rumbles to life)
    * Another Republican House member says this is just a Democratic trick to make the GOP look anti-woman (Working, apparently)
    * Lastly, one Right-wing pendant says the difference is so slight (3-7%) that no one should worry.

    Meanwhile the GOP still wants corporate secrecy around what employees get paid, the didn't support the Lilly Ledbetter Act. You'd think since Mr. Romney fumbled this they might have figured out their stance by now.

    April 9, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. rla

    The GOP is relevant because it keeps progressive / liberal politically motavated bills from consuming time and paper... Get over yourselves no one believes you or your propaganda anymore.. The dems will not see power again for decades!

    April 9, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Corporations are people too !

    April 9, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Econ301

    "Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said it would interfere with the free market."

    Isn't the implication here that Rand Paul believes that women and men should not receive equal pay for equal work?

    April 9, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Joi Gibson

    Surprise, surprise!!! Not!!

    April 9, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. kevinmshaffer

    How would having the ability to discuss your salary with another employee, without fear of retribution from your employer, "interfere with the free market" Mr Paul??? The only way to accurately know you're being paid a salary that the free market demands for your services is to have points of comparison from your colleagues.

    April 9, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    This is News ?

    April 9, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. emskadittle

    well you know, women don't vote right?

    April 9, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. rs

    Econ301

    "Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said it would interfere with the free market."

    Isn't the implication here that Rand Paul believes that women and men should not receive equal pay for equal work?
    _____________________
    Well, that and it is clear Mr. Paul has no clue how tied business and government are. Is this any more interference that the social security deduction we all pay? The withholding of taxes, insurance, benefits and more? What about fair labor laws? Labor safety regulations? or just about anything else that keeps corporate America from destroying the environment, or engaging in unfair, unethical business practices?

    Oh, year, he's against all that too......

    April 9, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. ghostwriter

    GOP members argued there are already laws against pay discrimination and the "paycheck fairness act" would lead to government interference in the workplace.

    Funny...there are already laws against voting fraud and abortion.....hasn't stopped republicans from introducing dozens more.

    April 9, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Dead Bear

    They can only blame themselves (but they never will) for taking the bait the Democrats laid out for them. You can forget about any women other than "Stepford wives" supporting your party now. I guess the GOP still thinks it can win with only the older wealthier white male vote... Congratulations Republicans on confirming you are the party of the stupid! I never doubted you for a second.

    April 9, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "The dems will not see power again for decades!

    President Romney approves this message.

    April 9, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Do republican women in the House of Representatives get equal pay? I am sure it says a lot to be opposed to something you are getting.

    April 9, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Ron L

    Could someone who supports the Republican position please explain how this would be an "undue burden" on businesses. Since when did a single spread sheet showing salaries of employees become a burden?? I am willing to bet it would be about a 48 hour job to create (if it already doesn't exist). Once again this is about "POWER" over the less fortunate. When I recently had a job earning a little above minimum wage I was told by my "team leader" it was the "company policy" not to discuss your wages will fellow employees!! This was with one of the largest retailers in America. And when you are told that , you listen, or else you lose your job. Once again the Republican party is showing how they "really" favor the wealthy and they are not interested at all in helping the unfortunate get even a little support in confronting unfair or greedy employers. This is another reason they hate unions, they know the union is the "great equalizer".

    April 9, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. barryinlasvegas

    This is a prime example of why the American people are fed up with Washington DC politicians. They spend all of their time drawing up legislation they know will not pass simply to create talking points to campaign with the the stupid MSM like CNN plays along with this stupidity.

    April 9, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    This legislation is all about making information more available to all employees regarding the salaries/wages other people are getting for the same work. So, 2 points:

    1. IF that increases litigation, it's because the information was that the employers were ripping off their female employees. However, it's worth noting that all evidence/historical record proves that these kinds of legislation haven't increased the rate of lawsuits being filed. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act didn't and this one wouldn't either.

    2. Randroid is full of crap. The more information available, the more the individual actors in a "free market" can make informed, accurate and rational decisions. He pretends to be all about the "free market" which is an ideology premised entirely upon people having the information available to act rationally and to compete in their own self-interests, but he just uses it as an excuse to go with the flow. "Free market" does not automatically and inherently mean "deregulated market." Sometimes, regulations are necessary to ensure that the market remains free.

    April 9, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Bill

    @ria

    You should check your history. The democrats have won five of the last six presidential elections. And they are unlikely to gain the WH for at least another 10 -11 years. Now who is it that has not seen power for decades? Get a grip.

    April 9, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. Tom l

    rs,
    You have proven that you really don't care about the issues but just the optics. Your posts confirm that. If there really isn't a pay gap, as Sniffit demonstrated yesterday when he was defending the White House, then what's the problem other than politics and optics? That's all you care about.

    April 9, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Tom l

    Sniffit,
    You just demonstrated yesterday that the White House equal pay gap was bogus due to many factors but today those factors have magically disappeared from your diatribes. Why would the exact points that you brought oUt yesterday be applicable to the rest of the country. It's just another phony issue to drive the country further apart so you can try to sucker people into thinking dems care when this isn't really an issue. What a pathetic life you guys lead always trying to snooker the American public. You guys are the best.

    April 9, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. Bill

    Correction to @ria

    Should say the GOP is unlikely to gain the WH...

    April 9, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Chris-E...al

    The G0P didnt pass it because the dems filled it with a good dose of goobly goop that that made no sense ! If it were to be rewrote the GOP would pass it ! Its just another dem trick on women .They new it wouldnt pass and they didnt want it to .

    April 9, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    "The dems will not see power again for decades!" Ha, ha, ha...

    Perhaps rla would like to make a $10.000 bet on that...?

    April 9, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. angus

    My god..the Dems will do anything to get votes.

    April 9, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. tim

    The GOP hate women, minorities, the middle class, the poor, the elderly,

    April 9, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
1 2 3