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. KC

    It just amazes me how being treated equally is an undue burden. It's 2014 and we're still talking about civil rights. The GOP needs to be ashamed of themselves. Let's just hope the Democrats don't bring up legislation which attempts to level the playing field for African Americans or other minorities. We all know how that will turn out.

    April 9, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Raydio

    Completely unnecessary (there is no "gender pay gap") feel-good legislation promoted by Democrats pandering to alleged victims (as per usual) just to show they are "for the wymyn"!!!!!!11!!

    April 9, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    If people actually knew the huge disparity when it comes to pay, things would get super ugly. And it's not just male/female.....

    April 9, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Lewis

    If the government didn't interfere in the workplace, we'd still be seeing "Irish need not apply" outside store windows, and we'd still have white and colored movie theaters.

    April 9, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. TONE

    @Raydio

    Completely unnecessary (there is no "gender pay gap") feel-good legislation promoted by Democrats pandering to alleged victims (as per usual) just to show they are "for the wymyn"!!!!!!11!!

    Why don't you do your own research instead of quoteing fox lies. with voters like you God help us all.And he will

    April 9, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Al-NY,NY

    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"
    ------

    you won't get an answer until Rush/Shamitty/Levin/Beck go on air with their daily blathering

    -----

    angus
    My god..the Dems will do anything to get votes.
    --------–

    50+ votes to repeal the ACA...my god. the GOP will do anything for votes

    April 9, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. MOM2X

    This is no surprise, unless you are a multimillionaire or inside the uterus the GOP doesn't care about you.

    April 9, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Russ

    How can the GOP block a bill in the Senate when the Demicrats hold a majority there?

    April 9, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Tom l

    Tone,
    Not everyone that doesn't think like you watches fox. Doesn't it get boring to keep saying that? Read sniff it's defense of the White House yesterday to see what a bogus issue this is. Women do not make less than men if we are talking about all things being the same. Don't believe the lies that the dem memes and paid posters like Tampa Tim and, most likely, Sniffit spew. All they're doing is driving normal people like you and me farther apart. It's shameful

    April 9, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    So, the bill really is just a political stunt: rather like the government shutdown was the GOP's stunt, I guess. Apparently, the GOP is the only relevant party around, and we can all see that with the bills they have passed to assist all those millionaires in need. Now THERE'S a cause! Nothing like defending Sheldon Adelson to get those red state GOPers all fired up.

    April 9, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Fred

    GOP is afraid of fair pay, and disclosure because it means they will be held to a standard they cant meet and should be fired. sometimes, the truth does hurt. same goes for the dems.

    April 9, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    When it comes to pandering, the GOP is right there on their knees with their hands out for mbillionaires and big corporations

    April 9, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Name Maximus

    The stats on this issue are so misleading. Statistically yes men are paid more than wen if you take an average of all the men's salaries and all of the women's salaries but this is only part of the picture. If you dig down and pick a specific job and compare a mans salary to a women's there is virtually no difference. The problem is that women traditionly work at jobs that pay less like teachers and secretaries and men traditionally work at jobs that pay more. This is why that on a pure average, yes, men are paid more. On a like job to job comparison there is little difference in fact it WOULD already be illegal to pay a woman less at the exact same job as a man simply because they are a woman.

    April 9, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "Read sniff it's defense of the White House yesterday to see what a bogus issue this is. Women do not make less than men if we are talking about all things being the same"

    1. You need to stop trying to call people out or referring to them outside of a direct response to something they have actually said. Your constant attempts to name people and put words in their mouths are not only infantile, but also introduce an element of trying to make things personal that has no place here. Stick to direct responses to what is actually said...quote what you're responding to if necessary.

    2. That is a BLATANT misrepresentation of what I said and what I meant. The federal gov't is subject to all sorts of strict pay scaling rules that the rest of the employment market is not subject to. That contributes greatly to the federal gov't (and WH staffer positions) coming closer to providing equal pay and parity than the rest of the employment world. Moreover, I pointed out the fact that focusing solely on differences in median or average salaries hides some of the mathematical reasons for them...such as more women being hired as secretaries than men and the skewing of the median/average that can cause. That does NOT mean I was saying there is no problem, BECAUSE THERE IS, and it does not mean that I was generalizing it tot he larger job market. Your deliberate mischaracterizations of what I say are unappreciated.

    April 9, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Russ

    According to ABC news, women ON OBAMA'S OWN STAFF make 88% of what men on his staff make. That's ABC news, not FOX. If it's true, Obama is a hypocrite. If it's not true, then you have to entertain the possibility that FOX is right and that this is a manufactured issue. Either way, Obama looks bad on this.

    April 9, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Chris-E...al wrote:

    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 .
    -----------------–
    If the GOP rewrote it, then it would pass?
    Ah! I guess your observation explains why the Republicans haven't bothered to rewrite it yet, and never will.

    April 9, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. David

    Funny that Rand Paul thinks it would interfere with a free a market. Congressman Rand needs to be reminded that in a perfect market (that X they teach in Econ 101) every player has perfect information. Anything that restricts information from one player is a market interference, creates inefficiencies in the market which lead to profits not justified by market principals as well as deadweight loss. Class over.

    April 9, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Name Maximus, talk is cheap. If you actually provided an example and the source of your information other than a generalization that looks more like your opinion, then you might have more credibility. Until you're willing to do that, your reasoning looking like a contortionist's exercise.

    April 9, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. 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."

    You clearly missed the points that (a) the two situations...WH/federal gov't v. the rest of the job market...ARE NOT COMPARABLE due to all sorts of reasons, not least of which are the strict employment and pay scaling rules in the federal gov't and (b) I was specifically addressing the issue of pay inequality in the WH staff with facts about the WH staff, not extrapolating a general principle that there is no pay equality problem. But whatever...it's like talking to a freekin wall with you and your incessant and on purpose mischaracterizations of what I and others say and your ridiculous need to randomly throw our names in your posts to attack us personally. GROW. UP.

    April 9, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Ton l, what is a shame is your never-ending defense of the conservative viewpoint. You may not like FOX, but you seem to channel them a great deal. As for paid posters, I think you got more than a little hot at the suggestion some months ago, so I would tactfully suggest you stop throwing that accusation out. I take it it has not occurred to you that some of the righties in here , whom you never disagree with, might be what you accuse Sniffit of being?

    April 9, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    @tom l

    "Read sniff it's defense of the White House yesterday to see what a bogus issue this is. Women do not make less than men if we are talking about all things being the same"

    1. You need to stop trying to call people out or referring to them outside of a direct response to something they have actually said. Your constant attempts to name people and put words in their mouths are not only infantile, but also introduce an element of trying to make things personal that has no place here. Stick to direct responses to what is actually said...quote what you're responding to if necessary.
    ----------------------------–
    The sad part is that you and a number of folks had agreed on principle to abide by that "direct response" rule.

    April 9, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    The republican outreach campaign is an utter disgrace and an abysmal failure. Reach out to minorities, FAIL. Reach out to women, FAIL. Reach out to the middle class, FAIL. Rence and the rest of the clowns need to go back to the drawing board and reanalyze those 2012 results.

    April 9, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Mary

    First of all, the Democrats run the Senate, so in turn for the bill to be voted down, several Democrat Senators up for re-election must not have thought it was a good bill to run on in 2014 - very similar to the obamacare debacle legislation, in which these same democrat Senators are running far away from as well.
    Second, not everyone should be treated as equal - every one is an individual with different life journeys, which gives all a differing set of skill sets, which some could be to give them a leg up on their co-worker or might not qualify them in the same way with their particular set of life skill sets, ie college, former jobs, internships, co-ops, international travel, military experience, leadership skills, which would or could account for a differing amount of monetary value you bring to a particular business. Additionally, paying everyone the same takes out the drive and determination to do a great job rather than strive for mediocrity, which is demonstrated with what would happen with totally equal pay and not look at people as individuals.

    April 9, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    Add this issue to a long list in which Republicans are on the wrong side of history. The Republican war on women continues.

    April 9, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    The point in all of this is that, once again, the GOP will side with whomever appears to be the most successful in our society, and do nothing to ensure equal access to opportunities for everyone. For people who claim they are the true guardians of freedom in our society, they certainly want to make sure that some have more freedom than others: all it takes is enough brass to line your pocket, and a fake sense of being a victim.

    April 9, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
1 2 3