Earlier today, the House of Representatives passed HR2831, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007 ("To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice that is unlawful under such Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice..."), by a vote of 228 - 197.
The vote was almost a straight line party vote, with every Republican opposed to the bill, and all but one Democrat in favor (John Barrow of Georgia joined the Republicans in favoring corporate discriminators).
Edit on 8/2, to correct an error noted by a commenter -
The actual vote on the underlying bill was 215 - 187, and it was a straight party line vote.
Mr. Barrow of Georgia actually voted for the bill.
I apologize for the error.
This bill was rooted in a 5 - 4 decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, throwing out a discrimination lawsuit by a retired supervisor at their Gadsden, AL plant.
The Court ruled that even though the discrimination went on for years, she had only 180 days from the company's initial decision to discriminate against her to file suit.
The legislation that passed the House today would allow a lawsuit within 180 days of the last affected paycheck.
Of course, the Republicans opposing the bill did not come out and say that they favor employment discrimination; they were concerned that the bill "would allow employees to bring a claim of pay or other employment-related discrimination years or even decades after the alleged discrimination occurred." (White House, quoted in an AP article)
I particularly liked the breathless headline from a press release put out by the Republican caucus of the House Education and Labor Committee -
House Democrats Undermine 40 Years of Civil Rights Law, Open the Door for Unbridled LitigationUmmm, when have Republicans cared about civil rights laws, other than to oppose them with every fiber of their beings?
Anyway, the cost estimate put together by the Congressional Budget Office is here. Hint: $0.
The June 27, 2007 Education and Labor Committee meeting on the bill can be found here, along with the statements of Ms. Ledbetter and Neal Mollen, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lawyer who attended the hearing and argued against the bill. The Republican talking points echoed his testimony.
BTW - adding insult to Ms. Ledbetter's injury, Goodyear is now trying to collect $3,200 in lawsuit-related expenses from her. (AP via Daily Comet of LA)
I can't think of a better reason to never buy another Goodyear product. Can you?
Note: I missed most of the floor debate in the House; I'll update this post once the debate is entered into the Congressional Record.