Senate Republicans dealt another blow to women’s rights on Tuesday when they voted against a President Obama backed bill that would have guaranteed equal pay for women in the workplace.
The “Paycheck Fairness Act” which was expected to fail was voted down along party lines with a final vote of 52-47, eight votes short of the needed 60 minimum.
Democrats expected the bill to fail and immediately used the vote to attack the GOP on yet another women rights issue. In a statement following the vote President Obama said:
“It is incredibly disappointing that in this make-or-break moment for the middle class, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of American women and their families.”
Following Obama’s lead Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid use the opportunity to attack Mitt Romney’s lack of leadership:
“Even Mitt Romney has refused to publicly oppose this legislation. He should show some leadership.”
The Republicans in the past have fought losing battles over contraception and abortion issues and this time they didn’t take the bait, instead focusing on unemployment rates among Hispanics.
Romney’s spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg did quickly address the bill, noting:
“Of course Gov. Romney supports pay equity for women. In order to have pay equity, women need to have jobs, and they have been getting crushed in this anemic Obama economy.”
Sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., the equality bill would require employers to prove that differences in pay between men and women are based on concrete qualifications including education levels, experience and other areas of qualification.