Senate set to address gender wage gap

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up votes for later this week on the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Reid filed cloture on a motion to proceed to S. 2199, which aims to close the wage gap between women and men working equivalent jobs. That procedural vote will happen Wednesday unless there is agreement to vote sooner.

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Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) introduced the bill and it’s part of Democrats efforts to address wealth inequality before November’s mid-term election.

The bill aims to make it easier for women to find out if they’re not being paid fairly and take their employers to court. It requires the Department of Labor to increase outreach and training with employers to eliminate pay inequality and to continue to collect wage information based on gender. 

The bill would also create a grant program to train women on wage negotiation skills.

Mikulski said the wage gap costs women an average of $434,000 over their lifetime. 

“We’re for policies that will help get more money into the family checkbook. And we can start by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will give women a raise, so they can raise their families and raise up the economy,” Mikulski said when the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee cleared her bill last week.

Some Republicans have criticized her bill saying it should be called the "trial lawyer bonanza law" because it will allow more women to sue their employers.

Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to announce federal mandates he will make to address income inequality.