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News Friday, Jan 29 2016

Senator Kelly Ayotte Won't Stand Up for New Hampshire's Working Women

Jan 29, 2016

On the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, working women are still fighting to close the gender wage gap — and Republicans, including Senator Kelly Ayotte, are standing in their way.

  • Ayotte voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act at least four times — once in 2012, twice in 2014, and again in 2015.
  • Ayotte introduced a sham bill to cover up her opposition to equal pay called the Workplace Advancement Act.
  • The Workplace Advancement Act suggested that pay discrimination doesn’t actually exist, women only feel like it does. According to Salon, “The authors of the measure couldn’t even bring themselves to concede that pay discrimination exists, only that some women feel it exists.”

“In the fight for equal pay, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was a step in the right direction. But there is still more work to be done, and Kelly Ayotte has proven she’s not the woman for the job. While women in New Hampshire take home a paycheck 24 percent smaller, Kelly Ayotte is trying to distort her record on equal pay,” said American Bridge Press Secretary Katie Lewallen. “Not only is Sen. Ayotte is hiding behind a sham policy that denies paycheck discrimination, she voted four times against paycheck fairness. Sen. Ayotte’s votes are a disservice to the women of New Hampshire and across our country who deserve equal pay.”

Background:

Ayotte Voted To Block The Paycheck Fairness Act Four Times

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]

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 recent of which is sponsored by Republican Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. 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]

Published: Jan 29, 2016

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