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Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007--Motion to Proceed--Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

LILLY LEDBETTER FAIR PAY ACT OF 2007--MOTION TO PROCEED--Continued -- (Senate - April 23, 2008)


Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, I am deeply disappointed we were not able to get the required 60 votes. With the majority leader's vote, we would have had 57 votes--57 votes. There is virtually unanimous opposition on the other side of the aisle to restore what had been fairness and decency and equity in our fair pay laws.

I think most of us who have been around this institution for some time and who have been involved in the civil rights issue understand if you don't have a remedy, you don't have a right. This debate was about restoring a right to Lilly Ledbetter, her right to be treated fairly in the workplace and the rights of millions of others too. Those who are disabled, elderly, people in our society of various national origins, those of particular religious faiths, and women all are threatened by the underlying Supreme Court decision. That has to be altered. It has to be changed.

I welcome the fact that our majority leader has sent a powerful signal by indicating that we will come back and revisit this issue. This issue is about fairness. It is about equity. If we are going to permit discrimination in the workplace, we shouldn't permit it to pay, and the best way to make sure it does not pay is to provide the remedy to ensure it will not.

This is an early skirmish in this battle toward true fairness and equity and equitable pay for women and all others in our society. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the ongoing battle. I am very hopeful and optimistic that the next time we will get the votes that are necessary to permit us to take final action on this legislation.

Again, I thank the majority leader for his addressing this issue and for his willingness to bring this back to the floor so we can have further debate and discussion on it.

And I would like to thank my staff--Charlotte Burrows, Sharon Block, and Portia Wu, who worked very hard on this important legislation. I would also like to thank Michael Myers, Scott Fay, and Kate Dowling from my staff for all of their help.

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