By Christine Dickason
April 15, 2013
Caption : Three days after Equal Pay Day, House Republicans prevented a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act.     

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Three days after Equal Pay Day, House Republicans prevented an effort to force a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CN), who sponsored the legislation, tried to make opponents of the bill go on record in a vote by filing a discharge petition. If the petition gained 218 signatures, then the Paycheck Fairness Act would have immediately been put up for a vote. However, every Republican present in the House voted against the petition and successfully stopped the motion, with a final vote of 226 to 192.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) lived up to her previous track record, when she said yesterday on the House floor that the legislation was simply a “liberal plot.”

While House Republicans continue to delay a vote, women are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar that men make. And rhetoric from members of Congress that perpetuate a false understanding of the Paycheck Fairness Act, such as Foxx’s statement, only further delays legislation that could make a significant impact on women’s lives—and the economy. A study by the International Monetary Fund reported that a 10 percent decrease in pay inequality would increase the length of a period of economic growth by almost 50 percent.

A new report by American Association of University Women found that Millennial women will only make about 82 cents for every dollar that men make. This directly affects the ability of young women to pay their student loans, purchase a car or home and fully participate in the U.S. economy. 

The Paycheck Fairness Act includes provisions that would make it easier for women to file lawsuits due to pay inequality and ensure that employees do not face employer retaliation if an employee discusses his or her pay rate with others. The last time the Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced in 2012, the bill failed in the Senate after receiving only 52 votes, with a vote split down party lines.

But while there is broad support for a pay equity bill—84 percent of registered voters said they would support a law that works to ensure pay equality in the workplace—some members of Congress remain stubbornly opposed. Ironically, the members of Congress that oppose such legislation also tend to represent the districts with the widest wage gaps.

To find out where your state falls in terms of the gender wage gap, check out our interactive map

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