Senator Kelly Ayotte has spent the past week calling for an end to income inequality between men and women, but the efforts are nothing more than political stunts. Ayotte has voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act four times since taking office.
In an obvious attempt to obscure her record, today, Ayotte co-authored an op-ed calling for the passage of the Gender Advancement in Pay (GAP) Act. The senator claims that her legislation will help close the wage gap, but in reality, it is a sham bill that creates loopholes, allowing employers to get away with unequal pay. This isn’t the first time Ayotte has pushed bogus equal pay legislation. Previously, Ayotte also introduced the Workplace Advancement Act a bill that suggested that pay discrimination doesn’t actually exist, women simply feel that it does.
Senator Ayotte can continue her routine of twisting the truth, but Granite State women won’t be fooled — she and her fellow Washington Republicans are standing in the way of closing the wage gap between women and men.
Ayotte Misrepresents Her Record On Pay Equity
In April 2016, just months ahead of her re-election, Ayotte said she would re-introduce the Gender Advancement In Pay (GAP) Act, which NH Democrats called “sham legislation” and an attempt “to cover up” her four votes against the Paycheck Fairness Act. The GAP Act was “nearly identical” to the Paycheck Fairness Act, but critics argued Ayotte’s provisions would create a loophole to allow employers to retaliate against employees who discussed their pay.
Ayotte voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act four times, and introduced legislation that suggested that pay discrimination did not actually exist.
Ayotte, Ahead Of Equal Pay Day 2016, Re-Introduced The GAP Act
Ayotte Said She Would Re-Introduce The Gender Advancement In Pay (GAP) Act. According to NH1, “Sen. Kelly Ayotte says gender income inequality ‘is an important issue that unfortunately some women in our country face.’ And New Hampshire’s Republican senator adds ‘that’s why we need to make sure that we have strong laws in place to address discrimination in the workforce.’ Ayotte spoke out after headlining an equal pay roundtable discussion Monday morning with local business leaders at the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. At the event, Ayotte announced that she’s re-introducing her Gender Advancement in Pay (GAP) Act. Ayotte touted that her bill ‘would make clear that employers must pay men and women equal wages for equal work, without reducing the opportunity for employers to reward merit.’” [NH1, 4/11/16]
New Hampshire Democratic Party Called The GAP Act “Sham Legislation.” According to NH1, “The Republican incumbent’s being challenged as she runs for re-election this year by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in what’s shaping up as the most high profile Senate showdown in the country. And as Ayotte was holding her roundtable discussion, the New Hampshire Democratic Party charged in an email that the senator’s bill was ‘sham legislation.’” [NH1,4/11/16]
New Hampshire Democratic Party Argued The GAP Act Was An Election Year Attempt To “Cover Up” Ayotte’s Four Votes Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. According to NH1, “The NHDP alleged that Ayotte’s legislation was a move ‘to cover up’ her past voting record on the issue. ‘She’s voted four times against the paycheck fairness act which is really a problem. It would imply that she denies that it really exists. And now that it’s an election year I think she’s looking for some cover and sponsoring this bill in an effort to be more in line with where Granite Staters really are,’ Democratic state Sen. Donna Soucy told NH1 News.” [NH1, 4/11/16]
NH State Sen. Soucy Argued Ayotte’s Bill Would Allow Employers To Prevent Employees From Discussing Salaries. According to NH1, “And Soucy charged that ‘Sen. Ayotte’s bill attempts to create paycheck fairness but doesn’t in fact do so because employers could preclude their employees from discussing what they make with their fellow employees.’” [NH1, 4/11/16]
Hassan, Who Supported The Paycheck Fairness Act, Said The GAP Act Would Create Loopholes That Would Allow Employers To Prevent Workers From Discussing Salaries. According to the Concord Monitor, Hassan and Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said they support the Paycheck Fairness Act. Hassan said Ayotte’s legislation would create loopholes that in certain cases let employers prevent workers from sharing salary information, a tool that helps women find out when they are being paid less than male counterparts. ‘It is extremely troubling that Kelly Ayotte has voted four times against the federal Paycheck Fairness Act,’ Hassan said in a statement. ‘Granite Staters deserve a Senator who will always put the well-being of our women, children and families first.’” [Concord Monitor, 4/12/16]
In Reality, Ayotte Had Introduced Legislation That Suggested Pay Discrimination Did Not Actually Exist
April 2015: Ayotte Introduced The Workplace Advancement Act, Which Suggested Women Only Feel Pay Discrimination Exists, Not That It Actually Does
2015: Ayotte, Fischer, Collins, Capito Introduced Workplace Advancement Act. According to the Huffington Post, “Republicans in Congress have taken a lot of heat over the past few years for repeatedly blocking Democrats’ equal pay legislation, so this year GOP women senators are proposing a bill of their own to combat the gender wage gap. But the GOP’s stripped-down version of the Paycheck Fairness Act has so far garnered nothing but eye rolls from across the aisle. 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. The retaliation provision is one of many in the Democrats’ Paycheck Fairness Act, which would also require employers to report wage data broken down by gender to the federal government, set up negotiation skills training programs for women and girls, and help women sue for back pay once they realize they’ve been earning less than their male colleagues for the same work.” [Huffington Post, 4/14/15]
- Katie McDonough Column: Ayotte Pay Equity Proposal Suggests Women Only Feel Pay Discrimination Exists, Not That It Actually Does.In a column for Salon, Katie McDonough wrote, “But as Laura Bassett at the Huffington Post reportedTuesday, a coalition of Republican women has done the heretofore unthinkable and inched closer to acknowledging a problem might exist by introducing their own version of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure that Democrats have repeatedly tried, and repeatedly failed, to pass. But there are considerable differences between the two bills… […] The most significant among them is probably that the GOP proposal is toothless. The authors of the measure couldn’t even bring themselves to concede that pay discrimination exists, only that some women feel it exists. While the Democratic proposal is explicit about disparities between men and women’s earnings across income brackets and professions, the GOP bill simply states that ‘surveys suggest there is a concern among American women that gender-based pay discrimination still exists.’” [Salon, 4/14/15]
- Katie McDonough Column: Workplace Advancement Act Offers Women No Legal Recourse For Pay Discrimination.In a column for Salon, Katie McDonough wrote, “If that hasn’t gotten your feminist blood pumping for the Workplace Advancement Act, consider this: The bill offers no legal recourse to women who may want to sue their bosses after finding out that they’ve been compensated at a lower rate than their male colleagues.” [Salon,4/14/15]
Ayotte Voted Against Paycheck Fairness Act
Ayotte Voted To Block The Paycheck Fairness Act Four Times Before Introducing Her Own, “Nearly Identical” Bill That FAiled To Pass
2015: Ayotte Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. In March 2015, Ayotte voted against an amendment to the Senate’s FY 2016 budget resolution that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “would [have] create[d] a deficit-neutral reserve fund to allow for legislation related to equal pay policies.” Specifically, according to a press release from Senator Barbara Mikulski, “U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Dean of the Senate women and a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today was joined by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in speaking out on the Senate floor calling for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation which will help close the wage gap between women and men working equivalent jobs, costing women and their families $434,000 over their careers. Senator Mikulski introduced the legislation as an amendment to the Senate budget bill currently being debated.” The Senate rejected the amendment by a vote of 45 to 54. [Senate Vote 82, 3/24/15; Press Release – Office Of Senator Barbara Mikulski, 3/24/15; Congressional Quarterly, 3/24/15; Congressional Actions, S. Con. Res. 11]
2014: Ayotte Effectively Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. In September 2014, Ayotte effectively voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which, according to the Congressional Research Service, “increase penalties for employers who pay different wages to men and women for ‘equal work,’ and would add programs for training, research, technical assistance, and pay equity employer recognition awards. The legislation would also make it more difficult for employers to avoid [Equal Pay Act] EPA liability, and proposed safeguards would protect employees from retaliation for making inquiries or disclosures concerning employee wages and for filing a charge or participating in any manner in EPA proceedings. In short, while this legislation would adhere to current equal work standards of the EPA, it would reform the procedures and remedies for enforcing the law.” The vote was on a motion to end debate on the legislation, which required 60 votes to pass. The Senate rejected the motion by a vote of 52 to 40. [Senate Vote 262, 9/15/14; CRS Report #RL31867, 11/22/13]
2014: Ayotte Effectively Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. In April 2014, Ayotte effectively voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act. According to the Congressional Research Service, the legislation would “increase penalties for employers who pay different wages to men and women for ‘equal work,’ and would add programs for training, research, technical assistance, and pay equity employer recognition awards. The legislation would also make it more difficult for employers to avoid EPA [Equal Pay Act] liability, and proposed safeguards would protect employees from retaliation for making inquiries or disclosures concerning employee wages and for filing a charge or participating in any manner in EPA proceedings. In short, while this legislation would adhere to current equal work standards of the EPA, it would reform the procedures and remedies for enforcing the law.” The vote was on a motion to end debate on a motion to proceed to consider the legislation, which required 60 votes to succeed. The Senate rejected the motion by a vote of 53 to 44. [Senate Vote 103, 4/9/14; CRS Report #RL31867, 11/22/13]
2012: Ayotte Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. In June 2012, Ayotte voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which, according to the Congressional Research Service, “would authorize [Equal Pay Act] class actions and ‘such compensatory and punitive damages as may be appropriate.’” The vote was on invoking cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill; it failed, 52-47. [Senate Vote 115, 6/5/12; Congressional Research Service, 6/1/12]
Published: Apr 14, 2016