Republicans in the Senate, in their ever expanding mission to screw the American worker, blocked consideration today of H.R. 2831, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in a 56-42 cloture vote (Reid voted against cloture for procedural reasons, so he can bring the bill back to the floor in the future).
As if there were any question about what the right vote for American workers was, look at how endangered Republicans Coleman, Collins, Smith, and Sununu voted. Yup, with the Democrats. The Maverick, however, showed his independence again by not showing up to vote, but had he bothered to be there, he says he'd have voted against it:
"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. "This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system."
One would think that the Senator hadn't actually read the bill. Of course, if you listened to the Republicans during the floor debate, you'd think none of them had. They would have you believe--as they would on just about any civil rights issue--that it's about greedy trial lawyers.
The bill is actually about protecting the rights of American workers. It simply provides a remedy for workers--women and men--who have been victims of pay discrimination. It corrects a Supreme Court decision that severely restricted the right of workers to have their day in court. Pay discrimination is already illegal. This legislation would have fixed a bad SCOTUS decision that severely limited the ability of workers to hold their employers accountable for breaking the law.
Sound familiar? It's the Protect AT&T Act all over again. Damn the rule of law, damn the rights of Americans. Let's make some money. It's the Republican way.
Update: Since it's coming up in comments, both Clinton and Obama were there today to vote, and both spoke eloquently and passionately about supporting this legislation. The only no-shows were Hagel and McCain.