STATEMENT: Senate Republican Filibuster of Equal Pay Bill Is a Betrayal of American Women

Washington, D.C. — Today, Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted to support a filibuster of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would help combat pay discrimination by strengthening equal pay protections and enforcement tools to challenge discriminatory pay practices. Jocelyn Frye, senior fellow with the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, released the following statement:

Senate Republicans’ support for a filibuster of the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) that denies, yet again, an up-or-down vote on the long-pending bill is a troubling reminder of their lack of commitment to equal pay and is a betrayal of American women. Taking action to ensure that women—indeed, all workers—are paid fairly for their work should be a no-brainer. Women are consistently underpaid for the work that they do, and this is particularly true for women of color, who experience the widest pay gaps. The gender wage gap stubbornly persists in spite of the fact that women increasingly play a critically important role in the economy as family breadwinners, essential workers, and caregivers who keep our society running. Republicans’ empty words in support of equal pay while simultaneously refusing to take concrete action—and at times denying the problem altogether—threaten to forestall our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by costing women hundreds of billions of dollars in lower wages each year.

Women shouldn’t be relegated to a lifetime of devalued work and discrimination just to perpetuate a status quo that serves a privileged few. It is especially galling that at a time when the nation is grappling with questions about systemic racism and sexism that many of these senators are content to accept as normal pay disparities that always keep women of color at the bottom of the pay scale.

All workers deserve to be paid fairly for their labor, but in blocking the PFA, Senate Republicans are shielding employers from accountability and enabling them to continue discriminatory practices, such as retaliating against workers who share information about their compensation. That’s unacceptable, irresponsible, and just plain wrong. The Senate must weigh all options in figuring out how to move this vital legislation forward.

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