Easy Monday: Paycheck fairness, judicial vote in the Senate

Democrats say the bill, S. 3220, is an answer to the Republicans' "war on women," but Republicans argue the bill solves a problem — that of paycheck discrimination against women — that Democrats have said was already solved by passing the Lilly Ledbetter law in 2009.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act changed U.S. law to make the statute of limitations for unfair pay expire 180 days after the receipt of each new discriminatory paycheck, giving women more flexibility to challenge unfair pay.

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Republicans last week cited several quotes from President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) saying that the Ledbetter law equalized pay for women in America, implying that the new Paycheck Fairness Act is simply a vehicle to score political points against Republicans.

The new bill would create federal grants aimed at improving the salary negotiation skills of women, and makes some changes to current law to protect women who take initial steps toward filing an unfair-pay complaint.

It also foresees the government collection of salary data from companies for the purpose of enforcing fair-pay laws, a step Republicans in particular are likely to oppose.

Assuming the procedural vote fails on Tuesday, the Senate is expected to take up farm legislation for the rest of the week.

At 5 p.m. Monday, the Senate will debate the nomination of Tim Hillman to be a Massachusetts district judge, and will vote on Hillman at 5:30 p.m.

The House is out today.