GOP filibusters, blocks Paycheck Fairness Act on equal pay

UPDATE (June 8 – 4:30 p.m. PT) — As expected, Republicans filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act today, blocking it from coming to the floor for a vote. Sen. Patty Murray calls the move “a total disgrace.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 8, 2021) — Senate Republicans last month wielded their first filibuster to block a bill to create a bipartisan commission to examine the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Today, they are poised to use the arcane Senate rule for a second time to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would allow women workers to challenge pay discrimination by their employers.

Despite the fact that most American women contribute or are solely responsible for the fiscal stability of their households, they only make on average 80 percent of what their male counterparts earn in the workforce. This number significantly drops among minority women. Not only does this impact women’s financial security, but also the security of their families. This wage gap contributes to families’ inability to save for retirement, invest in their children’s education, and overcome living paycheck to paycheck.

S. 205, the Paycheck Fairness Act sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), would strengthen and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by holding employers accountable for discriminatory practices, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees. The House version of the bill, H.R. 7 sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), passed on April 15. Washington’s House delegation voted on party lines: all Democrats voted “yes” and all Republicans voted “no.”

Sen. Patty Murray speaks at a 2017 press conference in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

“As we come out of a pandemic that’s hurt working women — and in particular women of color — the most, it’s clearer than ever that we need to pass the #PaycheckFairness Act,” Murray tweeted last week. “Closing the gender pay gap is key to building back stronger and fairer. Let’s get this done.”

But reports indicate Republicans will filibuster the legislation today, meaning that a super-majority of all Democratic senators and at least 10 Republicans would have to vote to allow it to advance to the floor, which is extremely unlikely. Republicans plan to use this arcane rule to kill dozens of Democratic bills this year on everything from protecting voting rights (For the People Act) to labor law reform (PRO Act).

Despite this threat, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, a staunch supporter of equal rights and pay equity for all women, has been calling upon union members and other supporters of the Paycheck Fairness Act to call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and leave a message for U.S. Senators to support S. 205.

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