Filibuster Strikes Again, Blocks Paycheck Fairness Act

Filibuster Strikes Again, Blocks Paycheck Fairness Act

A little noticed Senate filibuster has blocked action on a bill designed to close the pay gap between women and men doing comparable jobs

It went all-but-unnoticed in the blizzard of news stories on President Obama’s plans to attack ISIL, but Republican senators on Monday again turned to the filibuster rule to block legislation backed by a clear majority of their colleagues.

This time, the legislative victim was the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” a bill designed to bring the salaries paid to tens of thousands of women in line with those of men holding comparable jobs.

While 52 of the 100 senators favored ending debate and proceeding to a vote on the bill, the minority used the filibuster rule to squash it. The rule requires a 60-vote supermajority to end debate and force action, even if only a simple majority is needed to actually pass the legislation.

The Senate vote came one day before release of a Census Bureau report that indicated a small narrowing of the gender pay gap, with the female-to-male earnings ratio climbing above 78 percent for the first time ever. The continuing gender pay gap is one reason why median family incomes remain below their pre-recession levels.