Senate Passes Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

by Cara on January 23, 2009

in Barack Obama, class and economics, Democrats, discrimination, legislation, patriarchy, politics, sexism, work

Great news! Yesterday, the Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

The new Democratic-led U.S. Senate flexed its expanded muscle on Thursday by overwhelmingly passing a bill to reverse a 2007 Supreme Court decision that made it tougher to sue for pay discrimination.

Approved 61-36, the measure is similar to one that Senate Republicans blocked last year, complaining it would lead to an explosion of lawsuits and be a bonanza for trial lawyers.

Yes, you may do a little dance. I am.

From the Feminist Majority’s press release, sent out by email:

“President Obama and the Democratic Congress are keeping their pledge to women and all workers to reverse the Supreme Court decision that gutted the right of employees to fight wage discrimination,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority. “We’re on a roll to rebuilding women’s rights and civil rights taken away during the Bush era.”

The Senate Act, which has already passed the House in a version coupled with the Paycheck Fairness Act, will go back to the House as a single bill. The House is expected to pass the Senate bill on Tuesday. President Obama is expected to sign it into law shortly thereafter. In almost straight party line votes the Senate kept the pledge of President Obama to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act almost immediately after being sworn in.

Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s killer amendment was defeated 55-40 in a nearly straight party vote with Democrats voting against it – only Republican Olympia (ME) voted with Democrats. Several other debilitating Republican amendments also went down to defeat.

In other words, they passed it. As they promised. And they did so without the compromises that easily could have been made, but would have gutted the law.

When Barack Obama signs the bill into law (hopefully next week!), it will be a great moment for women indeed.

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