Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Tuesday called out presumptive Republican presidential nominee for refusing to support the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure that Republicans eventually blocked by filibuster.
“For many families in Nevada and across the country, a woman is the only income generator in that family,” Reid explained during a speech on the Senate floor. “Yet, Republicans have vowed to block this legislation. … The’ve vowed to block legislation that would even the playing field and help women provide for their families, even though Americans overwhelmingly support this legislation.”
The Nevada Democrat noted that 77 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of all Americans were in favor of a new law to provide women with tools to get fair pay, according to a 2010 poll.
“Once again, the only Republicans who are against our common-sense measure are the ones that are in Congress in Washington,” Reid pointed out.
“Even Mitt Romney has refused to publicly oppose this legislation,” he continued. “He may oppose it but he’s afraid to say anything about it. Why? Because it’s obvious why. He should show some leadership, in my opinion, Gov. Romney, and tell his fellow Republicans that opposing fair pay for all Americans is shameful.”
Romney’s campaign has repeatedly dodged questions about the Paycheck Fairness Act, most recently telling MSNBC that “Governor Romney supports pay equity for women” with policies that “will create a pro-jobs business climate that will put all Americans back to work.”
Women’s equity activist Lilly Ledbetter on Tuesday urged Romney to “show you’re worthy of the leadership you’re asking the American people to entrust you with, and let us know where you stand.”
“Your campaign will say only that you support the concept of pay equity, but that you wouldn’t change any laws to actually enforce it,” she wrote in a letter to the former Massachusetts governor. “That’s like saying you’re for staying dry but wouldn’t use an umbrella in a rainstorm. Women are getting soaked, Governor Romney, and staying silent when a solution is at hand isn’t leadership—it’s an insult and a cop-out.”
In a 52-47 vote along party lines on Tuesday afternoon, a Republican filibuster prevented Democrats from getting the necessary votes to move forward with the legislation.
“The special interests who pressured Congress to filibuster the Paycheck Fairness Act may have won today, but the nation lost – and women and families will suffer as a result,” National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra Ness told Raw Story in a statement. “Today’s vote is deeply troubling, further evidence that this Congress cannot pass legislation that is critically important to the economic security of women and families and to our nation’s economic recovery.”
Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast June 5, 2012.