Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo Build Back Better, we need a tax system where everyone pays their fair share Democrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda MORE (D-Nev.) said Republicans think the pay gap between men and women is “okay.”
“A woman who performs the same work as a man should be paid the same as a man,” Reid said on the Senate floor Monday. “Senate Republicans simply cannot accept that notion.
“They believe it is fair for men to be paid more than women for doing the exact same thing.”
Reid’s comments came a few hours before the Senate will take a procedural vote on whether to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to help women seek equal pay for equal work.
Earlier this year, Senate Republicans blocked the bill. Democrats have brought the legislation up a second time to highlight differences between the political parties ahead of the midterm election.
“Democrats in the United States Senate stand for women’s equality because when women are empowered, we are all empowered,” Reid said. “If Republicans won’t stand up for the women in their homes, their communities and all across this nation, Senate Democrats will. American women deserve better.”
Despite previous laws, women in the United States make 77 cents to every dollar that their male counterparts earn.
The legislation punishes employers for retaliating against workers who share wage information, puts the justification burden on employers as to why someone is paid less and allows workers to sue for punitive damages of wage discrimination.
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.
Republicans said they opposed the legislation because it was a “giveaway” to trial lawyers since it would remove caps on punitive damages against businesses found guilty of discrimination.