The Paycheck Fairness Act was unanimously blocked by Republicans yesterday in a vote of 52-47, eight votes shy of the required 60 for passage. The bill was crafted to both close the loopholes of the 1963 Equal Pay Act as well as to supplement the 2009 Ledbetter legislation, which addressed the statute of limitations on equal pay lawsuits.
According to CNN, the bill “would require employers to prove that differences in pay were related to job performance, not gender; would prevent employers from forbidding employees from sharing salary information with each other; and would allow women who believe they were discriminated against to sue for damages.”
(Image from The New York Times)
A Pay-Equity.org statistical analysis (from U.S. Census data released in September 2011) on pay disparity between men and women notes the following:
> Women's earnings were 77.4 percent of men’s $1.
> African American women's earnings were 67.7 percent of men’s $1.
> Latinas' earnings were 58.7 percent of men’s $1.
> Asian American women's earnings were the highest at 86.6 percent to men’s $1.
….no mention, of course, of what queer women—especially queer women of color, especially gender queer women of color—make in relation to men’s $1.
Remember, to boot: pay inequality just doesn’t appear in a woman’s paycheck, it also insidiously makes its way into a woman’s pension and social security benefits. So, women in retirement suffer exponentially throughout their lives from 1) not making equal pay which has direct ramifications upon their 2) pension and 3 ) SS benefits.
All four female Republican senators, including retiring Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), voted “no” on the bill: "I think there are other ways (of) addressing these issues, and this legislation goes too far," Snow said. The bill "would put a tremendous burden on employers through lawsuits, class-action lawsuits," Snowe told reporters yesterday afternoon.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), according to Roll Call, “told reporters before the vote that she opposed the bill because existing laws already allow women to sue for pay inequality. Collins also questioned whether the pay gap was due to discrimination or other factors.”
In other words, Republicans saw this bill as a governmental overreach and a burden on small businesses—you know, because it’s SUCH A FREAKIN BURDEN to make sure that you’re paying your employees equally. Clearly, the federal government should only “overreach” into my vagina. Republicans want a government “small” enough to fit into my lady bits—any larger is an egregious overuse of federal power.
Because I was so baffled by this blatant vote for continuing discrimination against women, I checked out Fox News to try to understand WHY THE FUCK Republicans opposed this bill. “GOP Senate blocks paycheck bill, says better ways to achieve fairness,” the headline reads. Fox quotes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to emphasize that this bill was, in actuality, just a political ploy played by Democrats to continue the liberal charade known as the “War on Women”: “This issue is about rewarding plaintiffs lawyers for filing lawsuits. We think it is the wrong way to go about dealing with this issue. It’s an open secret that the plaintiffs bar has been an active support of Democrats all along.”
In reading Republicans’ reasons for opposing the bill, I don’t think they understand the importance of third party intervention—here, the federal government—to help eradicate economic inequality and ensure justice for minority populations. (Even though women statistically outnumber men, patriarchy is the law of the land and has been the cornerstone of essentially every global society since the dawn of Man.) It is impossible for Republicans to comprehend, or to empathize women, the powerless, the voiceless. Consequently, this bill, in their minds, is political fluff intended to trump up the figment of the “War on Women.”
This is the only rationale (not excuse!) I can conjure in my attempt to understand the “conservative mind.”
Will there be a way to combat or counteract the majoritarian, conservative mind to help secure civil rights for U.S. citizens? .... Because I don’t think the logic of “let’s wait ‘til white men are no longer the majority population” is working.