The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Claire O'Brien, (202) 675-2312;

Senate Fails to Move Paycheck Fairness Act Forward

Crucial Bill Would Have Ensured Fair Pay For Millions Of Women, Says ACLU


In a disappointing stand against women's equality, the Senate today voted 58-41 against cloture for the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3772), stopping the bill from moving forward and effectively denying women the necessary legal tools to fight for fair pay. Although a majority of the Senate supported this measure, the failure to reach the 60 votes necessary to defeat a filibuster dooms the bill for this Congress.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would have made several key updates to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a law which has not fulfilled its promise of closing the wage gap. The American Civil Liberties Union, along with workers, lawmakers, faith communities, business and advocacy groups, strongly supported the Paycheck Fairness Act as a vital protection against gender-based pay discrimination.

Last year, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, and President Obama, Vice President Biden and other senior members of the administration have announced their support for this important legislation. On Tuesday, the administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy in support of this important legislation and, recently, a report from the White House National Economic Council underscored the need for the Paycheck Fairness Act as an important step toward the economic security of women and our nation's families. Moreover, in a poll of registered voters commissioned by the ACLU and its coalition partners, 84 percent - Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike - said they support such a bill.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"A minority of the Senate was able to successfully block, on purely procedural grounds, an opportunity to afford women the most basic of protections - a safety net against egregious discrimination in the workplace. It's very disappointing and fundamentally unfair that women workers continue to make less than men doing the same jobs. The Senate had a chance with the Paycheck Fairness Act to correct decades of discrimination and ensure the economic survival of women workers and the millions of American families who rely on their wages. It's a sad day for equality in America."

The following can be attributed to Deborah J. Vagins, Legislative Counsel, Washington Legislative Office:

"It's devastating for women and families all across America that a bill as important as the Paycheck Fairness Act will not receive an up or down vote in the Senate because a minority of senators have blocked the bill from moving forward. The president, the U.S. House of Representatives, a majority of the Senate and constituents of all parties all across America support this bill. In the face of this widespread support, letting legislation fail on a procedural vote, which finally would afford women equal pay for their work, is especially tragic."

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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