Republican Ladies Have Own Equal Pay Bill, Aren't They Just The Cutest Things?
Stop saying Republicans don't care about women! They do TOO care about women. Just because they keep trying to pass laws to restrict women's health care, and just because they suffer from verbal diarrhea about rape, and just because they think women don't deserve equal pay for equal work because they keep blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act because that'll just lead to unfair lawsuits against employers and murder all the jobs -- none of that means they do not heart the ladies so hard! Why look, they're even promoting a new bill to prove it!
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), joined by GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), introduced the Workplace Advancement Act last week, which would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for talking to each other about their salaries.
Wow, that sounds terrific! Republican ladies, coming together, to strengthen equal pay laws, for ladies!
"Any legislator -- Republican or Democrat -- who is seriously interested in making progress on this issue for women and moving past electioneering and scoring political points should step up and support the proposal," Fischer said in a statement. "For the first time in over half a century, we have the opportunity to update the Equal Pay Act with a bill that actually provides needed changes and can realistically pass."
Great point from Sen. Fischer. And we'd almost give her credit, if there were any truth to it. But, see, Democrats have been trying to update the Equal Pay Act and a certain political party has blocked it THREE TIMES. Guess which party that is?
So, why is this new pro-chick bill so much better than the one Republicans keep opposing? After all, it does include one of the provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, prohibiting retaliation against employees who share wage information with each other. What more do ladies need? Glad you asked!
How about all the stuff in the Democrats' bill, introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, that the Republican version does not include, like the enforcement mechanism to make employers PAY THE FUCK UP when they are busted for wage discrimination:
Makes employers who violate sex discrimination prohibitions liable in a civil action for either compensatory or (except for the federal government) punitive damages.
States that any action brought to enforce the prohibition against sex discrimination may be maintained as a class action in which individuals may be joined as party plaintiffs without their written consent.
Authorizes the Secretary of Labor (Secretary) to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action.
Yeah, the Equal Pay Lite bill doesn't do that. It also doesn't require training employees of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) "on matters involving wage discrimination." Nor does it give the Labor Department the power "to make grants to eligible entities for negotiation skills training programs for girls and women," or "to conduct studies and provide information to employers, labor organizations, and the general public regarding the means available to eliminate pay disparities between men and women."
So, in other words, the Republican version borrows one idea from the Democratic version, skips the rest, and pretends that it is the best way to promote and enforce pay equality. And if Democrats really care about women and their paychecks, they should support this watered-down bill, which has the "bipartisan" support of Independent Sen. Angus King and "Democrats" Joe Donnelly and Joe Manchin. You know whose support it doesn't have? The Democratic women who've been slamming their heads against their desks as Republicans insist America doesn't need any more equal pay laws, thank you very much. But shouldn't those ladies just shut their squeal holes and listen to the menfolk on this? (No, they should not, and they will not.)
The Republican ladies think they've struck gold with this clever tactic to make it look like they are the ones who care about fair pay, with Democrats forced to support their bill or else confirm what the GOP keeps telling us: that Democrats are the ones who are actually waging the war on women. That does not exist. (Yeah, still haven't puzzled out how that's supposed to work, and we've been trying for years.)
It's a familiar tactic for the lady-hearting GOP, and it will probably work just as well as the last time they tried it. Remember when Republicans wanted to support reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, but they just couldn't do it because it included "lesbians" and "Native Americans" and "immigrants" in its definition of women what should not be domestic violenced? Everyone knows those kinds of "women" don't count!
So, hmm, it's so hard to recall now, but what happened with that whole clustermess of Republicans blocking VAWA? They introduced their own VAWA Lite (hey, trend!), which did basically the same thing as the Democratic version, except for how it did not. And then they were all, like, "No, we do TOO care about violence against women, we have our own bill, see?" And even though the Senate eventually managed to pass the real bill, not that fake phony baloney GOP version, some Republicans ran around saying they had totally supported VAWA, even though they had NOT. Yes, Mitch McConnell, we are talking about YOU.
Given that Sen. Mikulski has already said, "Nope, this is some heaping bullshit right here, I am NOT supporting this lite bill, no way no how" (more or less), we are going to guess, despite the support from Feminist Hero Joe Manchin, Democrats are going to rally 'round their own bill and tell Republicans to shove their fake "look, we are super for chicks also too" bill right up their ladyholes. At least we hope so.