The Paycheck Fairness Act in fact protects women from gender-based pay discrimination.
North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican, took to the House Floor Thursday to slam the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill spearheaded by House Democrats that would protect the right to equal pay for women in the workplace.
Foxx was among the 210 Republican lawmakers who voted against the legislation early Thursday evening. Only one Republican congressman, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, voted in favor of the bill.
"The difference in earning between men [and women] comes down to choices made regarding careers and parenting," Foxx said earlier in the day. "Many working women take advantage of flexible work schedules to meet their diverse needs."
She claimed that Democrats were giving only partial information when discussing pay inequity.
"Women are making career choices that are best for themselves and their families," she said. "Limiting their freedom to do so is wrong. Congress has no place in telling women their career choices are wrong. Yet Democrats are hellbent on telling all Americans how to live their lives, how to spend their money, and how to make career decisions."
The Paycheck Fairness Act, officially known as H.R. 7 does not do what Foxx claimed.
The bill would in fact protect employees from being penalized for discussing wages and salaries, and would also require employers to formally prove that any discrepancies in employee pay are for job-related, rather than gender-based, reasons.
Foxx said she found that requirement too onerous and a nearly impossible burden of proof for employers to meet.
The Paycheck Fairness Act also launches negotiation skills training programs for working women, and allows those complaining of gender-based wage discrimination to have the same resources as those filing race-based claims pursuant to the Civil Rights Act.
It would also bar employers from asking about salary history during the interview process or using salary history as a hiring determinant, and would jettison certain existing legal provisions that make it more difficult for plaintiffs to sue for equal wages.
Foxx has made other recent statements discounting workers' rights in the past. Of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, passed in March, she criticized labor unions, saying that they take away workers' freedom.
"I've heard Democrats argue that it's the unions that built the middle class. No, the unions didn’t build the middle class," claimed Foxx. "Entrepreneurs and individual workers in this country built the middle class. And what this bill does is take away their freedom, making unions bigger and individual freedom smaller."
Foxx has also been criticized for praising racist figures, pushing homophobic claims, and using racial slurs on the floor of the House, and in 2006 joined with former white nationalist Rep. Steve King (R-IA), along with 31 others, in opposing the Voting Rights Act.
The Paycheck Fairness Act now heads to the Senate, where it's likely to face steep opposition from Republicans. Under current rules, Democrats will be required not only to get their entire party on board with the proposal, but will also be forced to persuade at least 10 Republicans to follow suit, in order to circumvent a filibuster.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.