Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill that would make it easier for people to sue over pay discrimination, an effort to roll back a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that limited such cases.
Republicans complained that the bill would produce a flood of lawsuits and criticized the chamber’s Democratic leaders for putting off the vote until the party’s two presidential candidates, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, returned from the campaign trail.
Though several Republicans broke ranks to support the bill, the 56-42 vote was four short of the 60 needed to break the GOP filibuster. Clinton and Obama spent most of the day in Indiana, one of the two states in the next round of Democratic contests, but both returned to the Senate in time for the vote.
This one hurts. To quote the NYT, this filibuster is "a significant civil rights setback."
BTW, both Clinton and Obama voted for the bill, while Sen. John McCain did not vote at all, but it is good to know that he says he'd have voted against it:
"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. "This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system."