Senate blocks bill at equalizing pay between men, women

UPDATE: Wednesday, the Senate voted to block the Paycheck Fairness Act. The vote to advance the bill was 53-44 with no Republicans voting for it. Democrats needed 60 votes to advance it.

Democrats are giving senators, including Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran grief because they have voted against bills Democrats say would help equalize pay between men and women.

The criticism came on Equal Pay Day, the day each year that women would need to work until in order to equal the wages of men from the previous year, according to a release from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

"Equal Pay Day serves as a grim reminder of Thad Cochran’s longstanding opposition to paycheck fairness and his starring role in ensuring that Mississippi women still face a 24 percent wage gap," said Regan Page, spokeswoman at the DSCC. "Equal pay is about more than fairness and equality for women, it also has serious consequences for the economy and for the vast majority of families. It’s time Thad Cochran put women and middle class families first and commit to putting an end to gender-based pay discrimination. Equal Pay Day should serve as a wake-up call to Thad Cochran that he will pay a price in November for his longstanding opposition to equal pay for equal work."

Sen. Cochran supports equal pay for equal work just not the Democratic bills, a Cochran spokesman said.

"This legislation would kill jobs and reduce wages for men and women," said Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell. "It is unlikely any Republican job creation amendments will even be given a vote. That's what's unfair. The only people this bill would raise wages for are trial lawyers like Chris McDaniel."

State Sen. McDaniel, who is challenging Cochran in the June 3 primary, has taken exception to being labeled a trial lawyer, preferring to be known as a lawyer who defends corporations against frivilous lawsuits.

Democrats are pressing Republicans on the issue hoping they'll change their votes when the Paycheck Fairness Act comes up again this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.