Maine Independent Senator Angus King joined Senate Republicans to block The Paycheck Fairness Act on Wednesday, killing the bill that proponents say would have helped ensure equal pay for women in the workplace.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would have required private employers to create more transparency around wages and would have barred bosses from penalizing employees who bring the issue of equal pay to the table. Similar regulations were passed by President Barack Obama for federal contractors on Tuesday through two executive orders.
"By blocking this bill, a few members of the Senate have failed to even allow debate on giving women the most basic of protections: a safety net against egregious discrimination in the workplace," said Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU senior legislative counsel and co-chair of the National Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition. "As long as women workers continue to make less than men doing the same jobs, we will continue to fight for the Paycheck Fairness Act."
King was singled out by reporting in The Hill Thursday, as his vote highlighted fears of Democrats losing the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections.
As The Hill reports, Sen. Angus King said he may switch sides and caucus with the Republicans instead of the Democrats if the tides turn in favor of Republicans in November.
“I’ll make my decision at the time based on what I think is best for Maine,” King told The Hill Wednesday after the vote.
"That lobbying battle could be especially intense if King’s decision determines which party will control the chamber in the next Congress," The Hill reports. "If Republicans pick up six seats this fall, they will be running the Senate in 2015. But a pickup of five would produce a 50-50 split and Democratic control, with Vice President Biden breaking the tie. King could tip the balance."