WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Sen. Mikulski Undeterred By Paycheck Fairness Act Defeat

Play associated audio
Sen. Barbara Mikulski was one of the most vocal of area lawmakers in support of the defeated Paycheck Fairness Act.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk
Sen. Barbara Mikulski was one of the most vocal of area lawmakers in support of the defeated Paycheck Fairness Act.

The region's Democrats are up in arms that Republicans filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act Tuesday, which would have given women new tools to combat pay discrimination in the workforce.

Women in the District earn 91 percent of what their male counterparts pull in annually, making the pay disparity here the smallest in the nation. Meanwhile, women in Maryland get 83 percent of their male counterparts, and ladies from the Commonwealth of Virginia are at 79 percent.

The Paycheck Fairness Act attempted to close that gap by protecting women in the workforce who want their salaries to be in line with the men they work with. And it forces employers to prove any salary differences are job-related instead of gender based.

Maryland Democrat Sen. Barbara Mikulski helped lead the fight for the bill in the Senate. "There they go again," she said Tuesday after the measure was defeated. "We lost a pretty big vote today."

The final tally was 52-47, with every Republican opposing the legislation. The GOP maintains the bill was a Democratic attempt to appeal to female voters, and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said the legislation would do more to help lawyers than anyone else.

"This should be called 'the trial lawyer' bonanza bill.' It has nothing to do with the women — they'll get very little out of it. What it allows is huge class action suits with very little defense by any employer," said Enzi.

Still, Mikulski was undeterred by the defeat. "But the fight will continue. It could be in the House. It could be in the Senate. It could be an amendment on another bill," she says. "We just know we're going to be here and we're not going to back down, we're not going to back away and we're not going to back off."

The Maryland senator expects Democrats will use the bill's defeat to energize women voters. "Our next strategy is is grassroots organizing," she says.

Analysts say the defeat of the Paycheck Fairness Act paints an even starker contrast between the two parties on gender issues ahead of November's elections.

NPR

Comic-Con Fans Continue The Epic Battle Between Science And Fiction

Fans of science fiction have long wrestled with the question of just how much science should be in their fiction. Advocates of different approaches met at San Diego's Comic-Con.
NPR

Scraped, Splattered — But Silent No More. Finally, The Dinner Plate Gets Its Say

Instagram is the Internet's semi-obsessive, borderline-creepy love letter to food. But behind every great meal is a plate doing a pretty-OK job. So a comedian made an Instagram to celebrate plates.
NPR

Leaked Democratic Party Emails Show Members Tried To Undercut Sanders

Just days before the Democratic National Committee convention gets underway, WikiLeaks releases almost 20,000 emails among DNC staff, revealing discussions of topics from Bernie Sanders to the media.
NPR

Making The Cloud Green: Tech Firms Push For Renewable Energy Sources

Few people can demand what kind of electricity they get. But Microsoft and Facebook, which operate huge, power-hungry data centers, are trying to green up the electricity grid with their buying power.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.