Today the United States Senate blocked consideration of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) released the following statement:
"It's disappointing that Senate Republicans voted today to put up a roadblock on the path to equality. Under the leadership of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who's been fighting for equality and is the longest-serving female Senator in history, voting for the Paycheck Fairness Act would have been a monumental step toward ensuring economic equality for women and families in this country.
"It is an injustice that women make only 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make for doing the same job, but this isn't just a women's issue. It's also an economic issue. In my home state of Florida, 47 percent of women are the primary breadwinner in their families, and the perpetual pay gap means less money to spend on necessities like groceries, clothing, and child care -- all activity that helps stimulate our economy.
"Nearly fifty years ago, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, which required equal pay for equal work. The Paycheck Fairness Act would have expanded on that progress by strengthening penalties for pay discrimination based on gender. It also would have created initiatives for negotiation skills training programs for girls and women. I was proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill twice and cast my vote in favor of it in the last Congress, when it passed the House by an overwhelming majority.
"This bill would have put commonsense provisions in place that could help our nation walk the walk when it comes to equality. Yet the shortsighted move by Senate Republicans sends a discouraging signal to working women, as well as their children and future generations. It's one thing to favor equality in the abstract, but when the rubber hits the road, that's not enough. As disappointing as today's vote is, I look forward to the day when parents in America can tell their children that they can be anything they want when they grow up -- and be compensated fairly for it. I look forward to continuing to work with President Obama and my Democratic colleagues on this important undertaking, and I hope that someday soon our friends across the aisle will join us."