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President Meets with Women Leaders

President Obama met with women leaders in the White House immediately after all Republican senators voted to block the Paycheck Fairness Act from moving to the Senate floor for a vote. The measure to stop the filibuster failed by just two votes with 57 Democrats and one Independent in the Democratic Caucus voting to bring it to the floor. The President encouraged the groups to keep fighting and not to be discouraged. He assured them that his Administration would keep working for passage. He reminded the leaders that polls show the vast majority of Americans, including the majority of Independent and Republican women, support pay equity for women. He was confident we will pass it. Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, said after the White House meeting, “today we can no longer say there are moderate Republican senators. The so-called moderate Republican senators from New England, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine and Scott Brown of Massachusetts, voted against a very moderate bill that would have helped women employees to fight wage discrimination. “It’s particularly outrageous that they’d vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act during a recession when women’s wages are especially important to keep food on their families’ tables and roofs over their heads. Women’s organizations are determined to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and, if necessary, to make it a major issue in the 2012 election.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who scheduled the vote despite Republican opposition, released a strong statement immediately after the vote saying, “Fairness in pay should not be a partisan idea.” Lisa Maatz, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) remarked, “What’s especially frustrating is that this critical bill became a victim of arcane Senate rules. This de facto filibuster of fair pay by Senate Republicans ensured that we never got to a debate on the bill’s merits.”

Sources:

Feminist Majority 11/17/10; AAUW Press Release 11/17/10; Statement of Harry Reid 11/17/10

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