Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stormy Weather Ahead...

On Wednesday, November 17th, all but one of the Republican Senators, the entire GOP Senate caucus, voted against bringing up for debate or even for a vote, the Paycheck Fairness Act, [Here] which is designed to eliminate some of the loopholes of the older Equal Pay Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Act.  In other words, every GOP Senator with the exception of Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski who had flown back to Alaska on her re-election business, voted against the bill which would have brought more pay equality to women!  
Even Maine’s Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe who had previously voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, voted against this bill.  The House had already passed the bill and the Senate was scheduled to tackle it in this lame duck session of Congress.  It certainly wasn't a surprise to anyone that Majority Leader Reid brought it up for a vote.
Rebecca Lefton in Truthout wrote: [Here]
More than 45 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, the pay gap shockingly persists with women still earning on average 77 cents to every man’s dollar. According to the National Women’s Law Center, ‘This persistent pay gap translates to more than $10,000 in lost wages per year for the average female worker.’ [Here] The gap is even worse for women of color: [Here] African-American women earn 61 cents and Latinas earn 52 cents for every dollar a white non-Hispanic man earns.
...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 [Here] 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, [Here] which is a prevalent problem prohibiting employees from knowing whether discriminatory practices are occurring.”
I guess it isn’t surprising that the Democrat-in-name only, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, was the lone Democrat to vote against the bill, but I’m still outraged.  Nelson had voted for the Lilly Ledbetter bill, too.  I guess Snowe, Collins and Nelson decided that their one vote for the Ledbetter bill was the only vote for women’s pay equality that they could muster the courage to vote for.  
Is this the bipartisanship that Obama wants more of?
And by the way, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly opposed this bill, as they opposed the Ledbetter Bill.  Remember in 1977 they opposed amending the Civil Rights Act to cover pregnant women because they claimed that pregnancy was a “voluntary” condition.  (I’m not making this up.)  [Here]
This is the same U.S. Chamber that the NYTimes tells us Obama is making "overtures" to. [Here]  If this is a taste of things to come, feminists and liberals are going to have some tough months ahead.
Dust off your marching shoes and bring some extra oxygen.  It sounds as if it's going to be mighty crowded under the bus...

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