In January 2013, the Paycheck Fairness Act was reintroduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. Why was it reintroduced? Because Senate Republican filibustered it in 2010 and 2012.
The good news is that the Paycheck Fairness Act got a small win last week when the Senate cast a unanimous vote to create a reserve fund that would pay for the Paycheck Fairness Act (should it pass) without adding to the national deficit.
The bad news is that the Paycheck Fairness Act might not be any closer to being signed into law despite this small win. That’s because the use of a voice vote on the issue (which requires no one to go on record with their votes) might be a diversionary tactic. Meghan Casserly of Forbes shared some insights from Lisa Maatz, the policy director of the American Association of University Women that explains the problem:
If there is even a single objection [in a voice vote], Maatz says, the vote goes to “roll call” in which every Senator is required to go on the record with their position on a particular question. [Such a vote would reveal] concrete lists of the Senators, both Democrat and Republican, who believe that women are not entitled by their civil rights to equal pay for equal work.
But instead we’re left with a mildly inspiring baby step towards success. “By having a voice vote, the GOP was able to pass a consensus resolution that they don’t think is going to do much harm in the long-run,” Maatz says in summation. Everyone in the room could walk out a supporter of equal pay—and oh-so-conveniently nobody had to go on record.
Head on over to Forbes to read Meghan’s full article with all of Lisa’s thoughts on the voice vote and what it means for the Paycheck Fairness Act.
You can sign a petition and tell Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act here.