U.S. President Barack Obama and hisDemocratic allies in the Senate on Tuesday accused of Republicansblocking a legislation meant to protect women's equal pay right,and challenged Republican presumptive presidential nominee MittRomney over his stance on the campaign trail. The Democrats-controlled Senate on Tuesday failed to pass thePaycheck Fairness Act by 52 to 47, short of 60 votes needed andstrictly along partylines as expected. In a statement released Tuesday, Obama said it was "incrediblydisappointing" that Senate Republicans refused to pass "the common-sense piece of legislation" that would strengthen the Equal PayAct, five days ahead of the 49th anniversary of its passage. |
Obama accused Senate Republicans of putting "partisan politicsahead of American women and their families." Obama and Senate Democrats launched a media blitz over the issuethis week, expressing their strong support for the legislation,meant to further protect women's right for equal pay for equalwork, particularly on filing gender-discrimination lawsuits. Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski who sponsored the bill saidAmerican women felt the passage of the Equal Pay For Equal Work Actin 1963 as "a giant leap forward" in ending discrimination in theworkplace and in their paycheck, but a lot more need to be donenowadays. "In 1963 women made 59 cents for every dollar that men made, and in2012 we make 77 cents. That means 19 cents over 49 years," said thelongest-serving woman in U.S.
Congress. The advocacy of the legislation was the latest effort by Obama andhis Democratic allies to protect their lead among women voters thispresidential and congressional election year. "The Republican nominee, Governor Romney, hasn't taken a stand onthis issue. He should show some leadership and tell his fellowRepublicans that opposing fair pay for all Americans is shameful,"said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after the vote. "But asusual, no one knows today where he stands on this issue.
Tomorrow,he may be standing someplace else." The Romney campaign responded to Democrats' calls by pivoting tothe U.S. economy, the top issue of 2012 presidential campaignagenda that the Obama administration has been continuously underfire from his opponent. "Of course Governor Romney supports pay equity for women," saidRomney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg in a statement, "Inorder to have pay equity, women need to have jobs, and they havebeen getting crushed in this anemic Obama economy, losing far morejobs than men.".
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