Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that Senate Republicans oppose equal pay for women, citing as evidence their expected opposition to the Democrats' Paycheck Fairness Act in a scheduled Tuesday vote.
"They don't agree with this, they don't want women to make the same amount of money, so they're filibustering this," Reid said on the Senate floor. "They are filibustering us even getting on the bill."
The bill would also ask the Department of Labor to increase training for companies to avoid salary discrimination, and create a grant aimed at improving the salary negotiations skills of women.
Republicans and many business groups are opposed to the bill, in large part because it threatens penalties for different wage scales that might be legitimate and have nothing to do with the gender of the employee.
GOP opposition is expected to effectively scuttle the bill Tuesday, when members will vote on a motion to end debate on a motion to proceed to the legislation.
Reid said the GOP opposition fits a pattern, as Republicans have opposed bills that would spend money to hire more police and firefighters, slowed passage of bills reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration and federal highway funding, and opposed a bill that Reid said would "restore basic fairness" to the tax code by imposing a higher tax on people earning $1 million a year or more.
"They have amassed an impressive record of obstruction," he said. "I just hope Republicans will change. They're not going to, we all know that."
Reid used his remarks to note that women are participating more than ever before in educational institutions and the workforce and deserve equal pay, although he twice fumbled his lines.
"Now over half the women in law schools in America are women," he said, adding later: "More than half the women in college are women."