A Senate Democratic effort to advance pay equity legislation fell short Wednesday, probably dooming the effort this year.
The vote to proceed was 53 to 44, seven votes short of what was needed. All 44 opponents were Republicans.
Most Republicans regarded the measure as an election year stunt, since it had virtually no chance of getting the 60 needed to overcome procedural hurdles, let alone make it through the Republican-dominated House of Representatives.
The bill would have made it more difficult for employers to pay women less than men for similar work.
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Republicans urged more enforcement of laws already on the books. Democrats called it a bid for fairness, and vowed to keep up the political drumbeat.
“When it comes to blocking a fair shot for women to earn equal pay, Republicans know they don't have any good excuses,” said Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.