April 13, 2016 05:29 PM

Murray objects to Fischer request (S.2200); Fischer objects to Murray request (S.862)

Senator Fischer asked unanimous consent that the Senate take up and pass Calendar #278, S.2200, Workplace Advancement Act.

Senator Murray objected and asked consent that the HELP Committee be discharged from further consideration of S.862, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration, the bill be read a third time and passed.

Senator Fischer objected.

Unofficial Transcript:

MRS. MURRAY: MR. PRESIDENT, THE BILL THAT MY COLLEAGUE FROM

NEBRASKA IS ASKING TO BRING BEFORE US TODAY FALLS FAR SHORT OF

CLOSING THE WAGE GAP. I WILL SPEAK FOR A FEW MINUTES JUST ABOUT

WHY, AND THEN AT THE END OF MY REMARKS, I WILL ASK FOR ANOTHER

UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST. BECAUSE IF WE REALLY WANT TO OFFER

WORKING WOMEN SOLUTIONS FOR PAY DISCRIMINATION, WE SHOULD

INSTEAD PASS SENATOR MIKULSKI'S PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT BECAUSE

TODAY WOMEN ACROSS THE COUNTRY MAKE JUST 79 CENTS FOR EVERY

DOLLAR A MAN MAKES. THIS IS AN ISSUE ACTUALLY DEMOCRATS HAVE

BEEN FOCUSED ON FOR YEARS, AND I'M GLAD THAT AT LEAST SOME

REPUBLICANS FINALLY RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS A WAGE GAP PROBLEM,

AND I REALLY WELCOME THEIR SUPPORT FOR FIXING THIS SYSTEMIC

PROBLEM. UNFORTUNATELY, THE REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL THAT'S OFFERED

TODAY WOULD NOT PROVIDE THE SOLUTIONS THAT WORKING WOMEN NEED.

  1. PRESIDENT, MANY COMPANIES PROHIBIT WORKERS FROM DISCUSSING
THEIR PAY, SO IF A WOMAN TALKS WITH A MALE COLLEAGUE ABOUT

THEIR SALARY AND DISCOVERS THERE IS A WAGE GAP, HER EMPLOYER

COULD FIRE HER OR RETALIATE IN SOME OTHER WAY. THE REPUBLICAN

BILL WOULD MAKE IT ILLEGAL FOR AN EMPLOYER TO RETALIATE AGAINST

WORKERS FOR DISCUSSING SALARY BUT ONLY WHEN THOSE CONVERSATIONS

ARE FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF FINDING OUT IF THE EMPLOYER IS

PROVIDING EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK. NONRETALIATION IS ONLY ONE

SMALL PART OF THE WAGE GAP PROBLEM, AND IT DOESN'T PROVIDE

NEARLY ENOUGH PROTECTIONS TO ACTUALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN

CLOSING THE PAY GAP. IN TODAY'S WORKPLACE, MANY WORKERS FIND

OUT ABOUT PAY DISCRIMINATION BY ACCIDENT. MAYBE THEY SEE A

SPREAD SHEET THAT WAS LEFT ON A COFFEE MACHINE OR MAYBE A MALE

COLLEAGUE'S SALARY COMES UP IN CASUAL CONVERSATION. BUT IN

THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, ANY WORKER WHO ATTEMPTS TO ADDRESS THE

PROBLEM WOULD HAVE NO PROTECTIONS FROM RETALIATIONS UNDER THIS

BILL. THE ONLY WAY TO QUALIFY FOR THESE LIMITED PROTECTIONS IS

IF A WOMAN USES THE MAGIC WORDS TO PASS A LEGAL TEST WHEN

DISCUSSING EQUAL PAY WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. AND, MR. PRESIDENT,

IT'S EVEN WORSE THAN THAT. THIS BILL COULD GIVE WORKERS A FALSE

SENSE OF SECURITY THAT THEIR CONVERSATIONS ABOUT EQUAL PAY ARE

PROTECTED, WHEN INSTEAD WOMEN COULD STILL BE REPRIMANDED OR

WORSE LOSE THEIR JOB ALTOGETHER FOR FINDING OUT THAT THEIR MALE

COLLEAGUES EARN MORE THAN THEM. SO THIS REPUBLICAN BILL

WOULDN'T EVEN SOLVE THE ONE NARROW PROBLEM IT IS TRYING TO

ADDRESS. THANKFULLY, MR. PRESIDENT, WE DO HAVE A BILL THAT

WOULD ADDRESS THE WAGE GAP. IT IS THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT

THAT SENATOR MIKULSKI HAS CHAMPIONED. THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT

WOULD MAKE IT UNLAWFUL FOR EMPLOYERS TO RETALIATE AGAINST

WORKERS FOR DISCUSSING PAY, PERIOD. IT WOULDN'T INVOLVE A

COMPLICATED LEGAL TEST LIKE THE REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL, AND THE

PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT WOULD HELP CLOSE THE WAGE GAP IN SO MANY

IMPORTANT WAYS. IF A WOMAN FINDS OUT HER MALE COLLEAGUES ARE

PAID MORE FOR THE SAME WORK, THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT BACKS

HER UP. IT WILL EMPOWER WOMEN TO NEGOTIATE FOR EQUAL PAY AND

CLOSE THE LOOPHOLES IN THE EQUAL PAY ACT AND CREATE STRONG

INCENTIVES FOR EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE EQUAL PAY. I WANT TO MAKE

ONE THING VERY CLEAR. THE REPUBLICAN BILL BEING OFFERED TODAY

HAS ZERO DEMOCRATIC COSPONSORS. IT IS NOT BIPARTISAN. BY

CONTRAST, BEFORE REPUBLICANS POLITICIZED EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL

WORK, THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT ACTUALLY PASSED THE HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES, IN BOTH 2008 AND 2009 WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT.

UNFORTUNATELY, SINCE THEN, SOME REPUBLICANS HAVE DECIDED TO

MAKE THE WAGE GAP ABOUT POLITICS AND BLOCKED IT HERE IN THE

SENATE, SO I AM GLAD TODAY THAT REPUBLICANS DO AGREE WITH US

THAT THIS IS AN URGENT PROBLEM. WE NEED REAL SOLUTIONS TO

ADDRESS IT, SO THAT'S WHY I OBJECTED TO THE FISCHER BILL, AND I

URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT THAT

WOULD TACKLE PAY DISCRIMINATION HEAD ON. AND THEREFORE I ASK

UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE HELP COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM

FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF S. 862, THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT, THE

SENATE PROCEED TO ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION, THE BILL BE READ

A THIRD TIME AND PASSED AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE

CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING

ACTION OR DEBATE.