The Paycheck Fairness Act, a Democrat-backed measure that aimed to increase protections for women filing gender-discrimination lawsuits, fell to a Republican fillibuster in the Senate on Tuesday.
The 52-47 vote on whether to open debate on the legislation fell, as expected, along party lines, with the two independent Senators voting with Democrats and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., abstaining.
The bill aimed to increase protections for women pursuing equal pay through litigation, and by creating a government grant to educate women on negotiating their salaries. It also included a measure that would allow the federal government to collect salary information to weed out unfair pay practices.
President Obama came out strongly in support of the bill in recent days, aligning with a number of Democrats who have made a full-court media press on the measure, striving to use it as an example of Democrats' strength on women's issues. The White House issued a statement from Obama following the vote that called the bill "a common sense piece of legislation."
"It is incredibly disappointing that in this make-or-break moment for the middle class, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of American women and their families," the statement said.