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Republicans block US Senate bill on gender pay gap

Last Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 15:55

Washington: Republicans have blocked a US Senate bill aimed at narrowing the pay gap between men and women, an election-year ritual that Democrats hope will help spur women to back them in this November`s congressional elections.

Republican lawmakers yesterday said the measure could hinder employers from granting raises, or permitting flexible hours in exchange for lower pay, for fear of costly lawsuits.

For Democrats, the bill was the latest stressing income-fairness they are pushing this campaign season, a procession that includes proposals to extend jobless benefits, boost the minimum wage and help students and families afford college loans.

"Republicans in Congress continue to oppose serious efforts to create jobs, grow the economy, and level the playing field for working families," President Barack Obama said in a written statement after the vote.

"That`s wrong, and it`s harmful for our national efforts to rebuild an economy that gives every American who works hard a fair shot to get ahead."

Republicans, whose campaign focus has been on an economy that is still recovering from a severe recession, said it was the Democratic bill itself that would wreak damage. They were backed by the US Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.

Women averaged 77 per cent of men`s earnings in 2012, according to Census Bureau figures.
That is better than the 61 per cent differential of 1960, but little changed since 2001. 

First Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 15:55

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