Republicans Block Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- But it's Not Over!
Wednesday night, Senate Republicans blocked the Fair Pay Restoration Act from moving to an up or down vote. We were just three votes shy of the 60 votes needed to stop the Republican filibuster and actually hold a vote on the bill -- but it's not over! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has signaled that he will bring this civil rights legislation up again, as soon as we find 3 more Republicans brave enough to support women's pay equity.
Thanks to you and other NOW supporters, tens of thousands of calls and letters poured into the Senate. We garnered an impressive 57 votes -- and we can grow that number to 60 with your help.
Lily Ledbetter and Kim Gandy at yesterday's Senate vote
It's been nearly a year since the House passed this bill, and we clearly have a long fight ahead.
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We are organizing all over the country, registering and educating voters, in the hope of sending more women's rights supporters to Congress, especially the Senate.
Please write to your senators today. Our online system will tell you whether your senator voted YES for fair pay, or NO to continue blocking the vote. Out pre-drafted letter to YES votes will encourage them to lobby their colleagues across the aisle, and NO voters will be admonished for failing to support fair pay. We encourage you to edit these letters and personalize them with your own story or reasons for supporting fair pay. NEVADA please note: As Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid had to vote NO in order to position himself to bring the bill up again in the future (one of those wacky procedural quirks of our legislative branch). If Reid is your senator, please make sure your message thanks him for his support and leadership on this bill.
It is significant to note that six Republicans voted yes, and of those six, four of them have tough reelection races this year, facing strong, progressive challengers. In an attempt to keep their seats, these senators may have voted yes in order to appeal to much-needed moderate voters but they failed to bring along enough of their colleagues to make their vote truly meaningful. We also have no commitment that they will actually vote yes on the main bill when it does finally come up for a vote.
If your senator is: Norm Coleman (Minn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Gordon Smith (Ore.), or John Sununu (N.H.) let them know that this vote was just the beginning of the effort to restore fair pay and add: "In addition, I urge you to encourage your colleagues to support the Fair Pay Act so that the bill can come to the floor for a vote and your support will be truly meaningful."
Write to your senators NOW.
The Fair Pay Act is really quite simple, and it does nothing new. It just gives women back the rights that the Supreme Court took away from them.
Last year the Supreme Court sharply limited the ability of women who have suffered pay discrimination to seek back pay and other compensation. Immediately after the Court denied Lilly Ledbetter's claim for pay discrimination in May 2007, the House of Representatives passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
The Fair Pay Act will fix the Court's misinterpretation of Title VII and ensure that pay discrimination victims get their fair day in court. This Act will simply return us to the longstanding rule that treated each and every discriminatory paycheck as a new act of discrimination.
It's sad enough that women are still only paid 77 cents or less to men's dollar, even though civil rights laws banned wage discrimination over four decades ago. The Supreme Court's decision could push back much of the progress that women have been making in closing the wage gap.
That's why the Republican filibuster must end. The House passed the Fair Pay Act nearly a year ago, and we cannot let Senate Republicans sweep it under the rug.