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Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Republicans Have 'Led The Fight For Women's Equality'

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Days after the Paycheck Fairness Act was blocked by Senate Republicans, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has stepped forward to defend her party, insisting the GOP has long "led the fight for women's equality."

“I find this war on women rhetoric almost silly,” Blackburn said Sunday, when asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" if Republicans were against equal pay for women. “It is Republicans that have led the fight for women’s equality. Go back through history -- and look at who was the first woman to vote, to get elected to office, to go to Congress, four out of five governors.”

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans unanimously blocked a vote to open debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would hold employers more accountable for wage discrimination against women. It was the third time the GOP had blocked the bill.

"Today's vote is a disappointment for women and families across the United States. Considering the impact of the gender pay gap, it's mystifying that the Senate can't even agree to debate it," Lisa Maatz, the vice president of government relations at the American Association of University Women, said following last week's vote. "That's what happened today –- GOP senators essentially filibustered equal pay for women."

Blackburn, however, insisted Sunday the Republican vote had not been driven by a desire to prevent equal pay.

"The legislation was something that was going to be helpful for trial lawyers, and what we would like to see happen is equal opportunity and clearing up some of the problems that exist that are not fair to women," she said on "Face the Nation." "We're all for equal pay."

Blackburn, who voted against the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a landmark bill for women's rights in the workplace, has previously said women "don't want" equal pay laws.

"I’ve always said that I didn’t want to be given a job because I was a female, I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job," she said during a 2013 appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein, that is what women want. They don’t want the decisions made in Washington. They want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions for themselves."

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