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Friday, Jan 29 2016

Senator Rob Portman Won't Stand Up For Ohio'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 Rob Portman, are standing in their way.

  • Portman voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2012, 2014, and 2015.
  • Portman said the Paycheck Fairness Act would increase “frivolous lawsuits.”

“Today in Ohio, women make 22 percent less than men for the same work. Instead of supporting equal pay for equal work and ending discriminatory practices that harm families and the economy, Sen. Portman has stood in the way of creating equal opportunity for women,” said American Bridge President Jessica Mackler. “The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was a step in the right direction for equal pay. There’s more work to be done and Sen. Rob Portman has proven he won’t stand up for hard working Ohio women.”


Rob Portman

Equal Pay

Portman Voted Multiple Times Against The Paycheck Fairness Act

2015: Portman Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. In March 2015, Portman 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: Portman Effectively Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. In September 2014, Portman 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]

2012: Portman Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. In June 2012, Portman 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]

Called It “An Election Year Approach By Democrats”

Portman Opposed The Paycheck Fairness Act, Calling It “An Election Year Approach By Democrats.” According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “A long-sought equal pay bill that failed to advance in the the U.S. Senate this week would have led to litigation and fewer companies offering merit pay for their workers, Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman told reporters on Thursday. Democratic backers of the bill, including President Barack Obama, said it would have helped eliminate pay disparities between men and women. Portman — who voted against the proposal on Wednesday — said workplace discrimination is already illegal, and questioned whether new laws are needed. ‘We have to ensure we are aggressively enforcing existing laws,’ said Portman, who called the measure ‘an election year approach by Democrats,’ noting it was opposed by all the U.S. Senate’s Republicans, as well as Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, who typically votes with Democrats.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/10/14]

Said It Would Increase “Frivolous Lawsuits”

Portman Said The Paycheck Fairness Act Would Increase “Frivolous Lawsuits.” According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “Portman, too, linked his position on the bill to the notion that it would increase ‘frivolous lawsuits’ and hurt businesses. Portman’s spokeswoman, Christine Mangi, accused Democrats of playing politics with the issue ‘by waging phony gender warfare rather than use the Senate’s time to take up real pro-growth measures that will benefit female business owners and workers.’ ‘Congress should build on the strides female entrepreneurs and workers have made by enacting reforms that will truly benefit them and encourage further growth,’ she said.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/5/12]

Published: Jan 29, 2016

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