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

'Captain America: Civil War' Captures Politics Of The Moment

The Marvel Cinematic Universe's new movie, Captain America: Civil War, opens Friday. As a character, Captain America has long responded to the politics of the time and this movie is no different.
NPR

Why This Seattle Chef Is Embracing A Higher Minimum Wage For Employees

Small businesses in Seattle have to pay a minimum of $15 an hour starting in 2021. But chef Renee Erickson has adopted higher pay for employees of her restaurant group ahead of schedule.
NPR

Jeb Bush Won't Vote For Trump: 'I Cannot Support His Candidacy'

Trump's former 2016 presidential rivals Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham both said Friday they cannot support their party's de facto White House nominee.
NPR

Job Growth Might Be Slowing Overall — But It's Surging For New College Grads

Congratulations to the Class of 2016! They are graduating into the best job market in a decade, especially for those with degrees in business, technology or engineering.

Leave a Comment

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