Reid: GOP should be ‘up in arms’ about wage inequality

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) challenged Republicans to not block wage equality legislation before the Senate.

Reid said it was “unconscionable” that women take home 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts take home.

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The Senate is considering the Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 2199, from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). The first procedural vote will take place Wednesday morning, and Democrats will need at least five Republicans to help them advance the bill. Reid said he hopes Republican won’t block the bill this time — a similar proposal has been considered twice before, but Republicans filibustered the bill.

“The Paycheck Fairness Act gives American women the fair shot they deserve,” Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday.  “Let’s hope the third time is the charm for American women — I’m hoping Republicans finally do the right thing. … They should be up in arms about equal pay for women as well.”

Mikulski’s 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.

But Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) has criticized her bill, saying it should be called the "trial lawyer bonanza law" because it would allow more women to sue their employers.

Democrats have decided to use wealth inequality as a major campaign issue in November’s midterm election.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has accused Democrats of holding political show votes on bills such as Mikulski’s.