(Vote breakdown, vote follows Obama's executive orders)
WASHINGTON, April 9U.S. Senate Republicans on
Wednesday blocked a bill that Democrats said would give women a
"fair shot" at obtaining equal pay to men for comparable work.
On a 53-44 vote, supporters fell short of the needed 60
votes to advance the bill. Republicans called the measure a
political ploy whose purpose was not to promote pay equity but
to attract women voters to the Democratic side in the November
Forty-two Republicans and one independent, Angus King of
Maine, voted against the bill. Senate Democratic Leader Harry
Reid switched his vote from yes to no to reserve his right to
bring up the bill again. Democrats cast all 53 yes votes.
The action came a day after President Barack Obama
signed two executive orders to help close what has been a
long-time gender pay gap by requiring federal contractors to
disclose more wage data and allow employees to share salary
The Senate Democrats' Paycheck Fairness Act would have
impose the same requirement on private employers.
But Republicans dismissed the bill, saying pay
discrimination is already illegal and that better enforcement,
not new laws, is what is needed.
They also said the bill would prompt frivolous lawsuits and
discourage companies from hiring women, thus hurting those who
it seeks to help.
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Bill Trott)