To the Women of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: My name is Patrick Toomey and I am your United States Senator from the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Here I am in my best charcoal gray and red tie. I am pointing because I am a serious man, and behind me is the Flag of our Nation. I believe in the Flag and the Constitution it represents.
Perhaps I should qualify that. You see, while I am generally a serious man, I am not serious about pay equality for women. And while I believe in the Constitution, I am not a big fan of the Equal Protection clause. That’s why on Wednesday, I joined my fellow Senate Republicans and unanimously voted against advancing the Paycheck Fairness Act.
All Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, but they are Democrats and my job is to block whatever they try to do, at all costs.
The bill I filibustered would have banned the practice of salary secrecy for all workers, about half of whom are either forbidden or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay with coworkers. For the general workforce, women who work full-time, year-round make 77 percent of what the same men make. The bill would also have narrowed what would count as a legitimate business-related reason for pay disparities between men and women with the same skill, responsibility, and working conditions. It would also have increased penalties for those that don’t have reasonable reasons for gaps in pay.
The best solution to the pay gap is to hope that employers change their minds some day, and begin paying women pay equal to what they pay men for the same work. If they do not, that’s just life.