Yesterday the House passed, by 247-178, the Paycheck Fairness Act. Every single Democrat voted for it and 14 Republicans-- mostly cowards running from their records-- joined then. The worst of the GOP ideologues and extremists all voted no. Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro explained why this bill is so meaningful:
"With this resolution, we take up an effort that began more than 150 years ago when visionary women came together to stand up for women's rights, to better the status of women in our society. In this tradition, more than 11 years ago, I first introduced the legislation that we consider this morning, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and I cannot help but think of all the Aprils we have commemorated Equal Pay Day without legislative movement. But today the legislative inertia we have experienced for years have come to an end. The wage gap is real... Over the course of her lifetime, a female high school graduate will make $700,000 less than the young man she graduates with. Compared to a man, a female college graduate stands to lose up to $2 million in the course of her career. This is true across the board."
Although endangered, petrified Bush rubber stamp reactionaries like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the Diaz-Balart Brothers (Rs-FL), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Robin Hayes (R-NC), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Phil English (R-PA) and a small handful of Republicans being encouraged to abandon Republican "principles" by Tom Cole and to run against the GOP, crossed the aisle today so they can lie to women and tell them they support equality, most Republicans up for re-election in November didn't have the sense to dodge this one.
During a conference call, the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman instructed candidates, campaign managers and press secretaries that given the anti-incumbent environment, it could be beneficial for House GOP candidates to distance themselves from politicians they may be serving with next year.
"These [congressional approval] ratings are worse than we had on the eve of losing the majority," Cole said. "Don't be afraid to say you are disappointed in fellow Republicans... don't hesitate to be anti-Washington, D.C."
The NRCC chief discouraged candidates from attending the national convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, saying that spending days there would be a "waste of time," and they would be better off campaigning.
Among the Republicans voting against equal pay for women-- daring Republican women to vote against them-- were a wide range of Republicans from make believe moderates like Mark Kirk (R-IL), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and Mary Bono Mack (R-CA or FL; who knows anymore) to died in the wool far right radicals like Michele Bachmann (R-MN), John Culberson (R-TX), Thelma Drake (R-VA), woman-hating closet queens David Dreier (R-CA) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Virgil Goode (R-VA), Ric Keller (R-FL), John Kline (R-MN), Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Randy Kuhl (R-NY), Tom Latham (R-IA-- who is still voting the way Bush wants but is at great pains to claim he's not a Bush clone by bragging to Iowa newspapers that Bush isn't welcome on his campaign), Mike McCaul (R-TX), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Mike Pence (R-IN), Adam Putnam (R-FL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH), John Shadegg (R-AZ), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Bill Young (R-FL).
We reached out two two of self-made women who have been endorsed by Blue America for congressional seats whose opponents are against equality of pay for equal work. Debbie Cook is the mayor of Huntington Beach in Orange County, CA and she's running against reactionary--and somewhat batty-- incumbent Dana Rohrabacher. His vote yesterday may have disgusted her but she wasn't surprise. She told us that "Rohrabacher has voted to increase his own pay 10 times in 11 years. While voting himself $90,000 in pay raises, he's voted against equal pay for women, against access to birth control, against Head Start programs, and against health care for children. Dana Rohrabacher's record on women's issues is clear: he doesn't care at all about the health and well-being of the women in his district."
Judy Feder in Northern Virginia had a similar reaction to the anti-woman vote from her member of Congress, Frank Wolf. "This is the third time in just the last couple of weeks that Congressman Wolf has voted against hardworking Americans and hardworking families in Virginia. And I have to say, as a woman, this particular vote is the most offensive to me," Judy told us this morning. "Not only is this an issue of basic fairness, but as families try to deal with stressful economic times, equal pay for women is also about helping millions of families meet their needs on a daily basis."
Nor, of course, is it only women who are supporting equal rights for women. Bob Lord, the Arizona progressive Democrat running against sleazy reactionary John Shadegg, who has a shady and disgraceful history with women and now thinks he's going to inherit John McCain's senate seat, finds Shadegg's vote against equality as typical of a disturbing pattern among rubber stamp Republicans. "John Shadegg just voted against equal pay for women," Bob told DWT this morning. "Shadegg keeps showing us that he is one of the most conservative members of Congress that votes with Bush nearly 100 percent of the time and this clearly is one of the worst examples yet. Shadegg epitomizes what is wrong with Congress and he made that loud and clear yesterday-- that and it's time to elect new leadership."
Watch George Miller (D-CA) answering disgraceful Republican charges that there is no disparity between men and women.
A thorough analysis from Andrea Miller, the exceptionally brilliant progressive running against garden variety rubber stamp Randy Forbes in southern Virginia:
Randy Forbes has been voting again and here's reason 1,245 why I'm running against him. It's hard to imagine in the 21st century that some legislators still can't accept the idea that women deserve equal pay for equal work. If you follow his voting record, it's hard to believe that Congressman Forbes is actually from humble beginnings, though now he's a millionaire and maybe that's the key to the real problem. Forbes has gotten so rich that he simply can't or won't remember what it's like to really depend on a paycheck. He also seems to consistently forget that while folks on the Chesapeake and Chesterfield side are doing reasonably well, though we're not rich by any means, more than 35% of the district exists on less than $30,000 per year and many of these are households depending upon a woman's salary for their daily bread and butter. Do the words "out of touch" and "totally clueless" come to mind?
There are two critical components of this bill that can really help women. First, the long overdue salary adjustments that are certain to result and second, women will be offered negotiation skills. Women instinctively "fight" for their children and when necessary, even for a husband. Women often are not willing to "fight" for themselves because their mothers taught them to put others first. Putting others first has helped create the paycheck inequality in the workplace.
Randy Forbes, with this vote, just voted against the working women in the 4th District. That's no surprise since he's voted against veterans, children's healthcare, mortgage relief and just a bit of tax relief.