WASHINGTON, Conn., June 5 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama blasted Senate Republicans Tuesday for refusing to allow an up-or-down vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act.
"Senate Republicans refused to allow an up-or-down vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a commonsense piece of legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and give women more tools to fight pay discrimination," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "It is incredibly disappointing that in this make-or-break moment for the middle class, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of American women and their families. Despite the progress that has been made over the years, women continue to earn substantially less than men for performing the same work."
The measure was voted down in a procedural vote, 52-47, along party lines, with the two independent senators voting with Democrats and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., not voting, The Hill reported. Sixty votes were needed in the procedural vote under Senate rules.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed his vote to against so that he could bring the bill up again, The Hill said.
"For millions of American women, no amount of talent or dedication will bring pay equality with their male co-workers," Reid said on the Senate floor. "Women take home 77 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn for doing exactly the same work."
The Chamber of Commerce and other outside groups opposed the proposed act. The chamber sent out a letter saying it "strongly opposes" the measure, The Hill reported.