WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans blocked legislation that Democrats said would narrow the gender-wage gap, a disparity that took on heightened significance during the pandemic as women disproportionately left the workforce or lost their jobs.
The vote was 49-50 on a procedural motion to take up the legislation, with Democrats voting yes and all Republicans voting no. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was absent Tuesday, but even had she voted, Democrats would have fallen short of the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican opposition.
The move to block the Paycheck Fairness Act marked the second filibuster so far this year. The legislation narrowly passed the House, 217-210, over the objection of many Republicans, who argue that the law would lead to a flurry of spurious lawsuits from employees seeking higher pay.
The legislation aimed to increase penalties for violations of a federal law that already prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as enhancing prohibitions to prevent retaliation against workers who lodge a discrimination complaint and banning contracts that block employees from sharing their salaries.
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