Democratic lawmakers attempted to push through a longshot bill that would address the so-called gender wage gap this week.
In response, GOP senators killed the bill and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered a harsh rebuke of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
“A very straightforward piece of legislation”
President Joe Biden’s agenda has been largely blocked by an evenly divided Senate, leading a growing number of Democrats to call for an end to the filibuster requiring a 60-vote majority to pass most bills.
As McConnell claimed, Democrats are advancing bills “designed to fail” in an effort to justify blowing up the filibuster. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been adamant in his desire to maintain the status quo and keep the mechanism in place.
For their part, many Republicans have already publicly opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, describing it as a proposal that would encourage abusive litigation. Democrats have attempted to pass such legislation since the 1990s and it was not expected to succeed this time around.
Nevertheless, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) took the opportunity to accuse Republicans of manipulating the filibuster to undermine social progress.
“Senate Republicans mounted a partisan filibuster against a very straightforward piece of legislation to help provide equal pay to women,” he asserted.
“Unprecedented new legal burdens”
McConnell, on the other hand, insisted that Democrats were playing partisan games by targeting the filibuster with a “radical” agenda on a variety of hot-button issues.
“Yesterday, the radical parade began with an attempt to use the cause of paycheck fairness as cover for placing unprecedented new legal burdens on American employers,” he said.
The Senate’s top Republican went on to note that it is already illegal to pay women less than men for the same work.
Schumer appears to be promulgating the broader argument pushed by progressives for months that the filibuster is a tool of political obstruction and has been weaponized by reactionaries to undermine the will of the majority.
Even as he denounced the supposed GOP obstruction, though, Schumer heralded the recent passage of a bill aimed at leveling the economic playing field with China, calling it “one of the Senate’s most significant bipartisan achievements in recent history.”