The first act of Congress Barack Obama signs into law may be the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which has already passed the House and just cleared the Senate. It is so named because it reverses a Supreme Court decision holding that Lily Ledbetter could not sue her employer for almost two decades of wage discrimination even though she didn’t know about it until near the end of her tenure. The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act revised the statute of limitations to make clear that every paycheck that continues the original act of discrimination restarts the clock on the statute of limitations. In other words, if a woman finds out that she is being paid less than a male counterpart for performing the same duties for the same length of time, she is allowed to sue for as far back as she was paid at a substandard wage, not just the previous 180 days as the Supreme Court decided.
Republicans supposedly agree in principle that decades of wage discrimination is a bad thing, but don’t think people should be allowed to sue over it. In their view, preventing lawsuits and sticking it to trial lawyers supersedes fairness for women. It’s a free country, I suppose, but somehow I don’t think women will generally agree with that line of reasoning. But then again, I’m not a woman, so what do I know?
In the Senate, the act passed 61-36, with Kit Bond among those voting against it. Sam Graves and Roy Blunt were among those in the House voting against it, where it passed 247-171. (FWIW, only a select few Blue Dog Democrats voted against it in the House. No Democrats voted against it in the Senate.) Kit Bond announced that he won’t run for re-election, and Roy Blunt and Sam Graves have both indicated interest in running for Bond’s seat. Akin’s name is also floating around for Bond’s seat, and he also voted against the bill.
So here’s my question. Do wingnut votes like this one put these knuckleheads ahead of the pack in 2010? And assuming they get there, how are they going to respond when Robin Carnahan wields this vote like a club against them? I mean, in trial heat matchups, Blunt keeps it close to Carnahan partially by keeping the margin in women voters to only 8 points. Scratch that, I already know the answer to that last question.