by Jessica Lauredan, Outreach Intern
National Women’s Law Center
This post is part of a series profiling our blog authors.
Lara Kaufmann is Senior Advisor for Education and Employment at NWLC.
Q: The Senate’s recent vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was a setback in the movement to make pay equity a reality. What will happen next? And how can women join the fight for fair pay?
Lara: The fight is not over yet! We didn’t get the 60 votes necessary to move to the next big step in the Senate — scheduling a debate and a vote on the merits of the bill — but we got very close, and we are calling on the Senate leadership to continue to bring up the bill until it passes. Women (and men) who support equal pay can help by contacting their Senators and encouraging them to support (or, in some cases, to continue supporting) the bill. There are simple instructions on our website for how to do this. It only takes a minute, and it’s really worth it — Senators do pay attention to what their constituents want. Also, there are two more bills pending before Congress right now that address fair pay, one called the Paycheck Fairness Act and one called the Fair Pay Act. Our fact sheet on Pay Equity has information on both of those initiatives too.
Q: The Fair Pay Act has come before the Senate during an election year. Do you think the bill will have an impact on the campaigns, or vice versa?
Lara: Both, actually. It is just a coincidence that this is being considered in an election year (the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was introduced following the Supreme Court’s May 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, and the House of Representatives passed it back in July 2007). But because of the timing, it may be discussed during presidential debates, which means that more Americans will learn about it than otherwise might, and I think that's a good thing. Senators Clinton and Obama were original cosponsors of the bill and support it, while Senator McCain stated to reporters that he opposes it. We hope voters will take the opportunity to ask all three Senators about this issue and press them to support, or continue to support, the bill.