Senate Shelves Pay Equity Bill

The day after Democrats made an all-hands-on-deck push for legislation to close the wage gender gap, Senate Republicans blocked the measure.

As expected, the Paycheck Fairness Act failed to meet the 60 vote threshold needed to advance to debate.

The vote was 53-44.

Celebrating Tuesday’s Equal Pay Day yesterday, President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would require employers to disclose more information about how they compensate workers and bar the punishment of employees who discuss their salaries with each other. The president signed executive orders applying those reforms to the federal contracting workforce.

Democrats vowed to fight on.

"We will be back another day for another vote," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.


GOP lawmakers argue that the measure would invite frivolous lawsuits and prevent employers and their workers from negotiating more flexible pay and schedules that fit both parties’ needs.

Republicans also dispute Democrats’ oft-cited statement that a woman makes 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Critics of that ratio, which applies to the real median earnings of men and women who work full-time and year-round for the same amount of time, say that it fails to take into account important variables like education level, type of job and flexibility of hours.

NBC's Kasie Hunt contributed to this report.