Morning Action: The Truth About the Paycheck Fairness Act
EQUAL PAY. As conservatives, we obviously support equal pay for men and women. The Heritage Foundation explains the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act, which the Senate is set to vote on today, could harm women and all workers:
It Could Hurt Women’s Employment Prospects. What those who support the act don’t tell you is how it would burden employers with additional liability and regulations. Such increased regulation, in turn, could reduce the number of jobs available for women.
Equal Pay for Women Is a Smokescreen for Washington Setting Economy-Wide Pay Rates. Reporting requirements and subsequent Labor Department pay guidelines would move the economy closer to a “comparable worth regime,” in which government plays an increasing role in determining wage rates.
The Act Is Based on Bad Statistics. Women deserve to be treated with respect and should never suffer discrimination in the workplace, or anywhere else for that matter. To the extent that women experience discrimination, using misleading gender wage gap statistics does women a disservice.
It is a well-known fact that the 77-cent on the dollar wage gap statistic used by proponents of the Paycheck Fairness Act is the product of simplistic accounting.
APPROPRIATIONS. House conservatives are reportedly pushing to have their amendments to appropriations bills considered (sub. req’q):
House hard-line conservatives, stressing the significance of political messaging on spending bills even as leaders try to keep appropriations on a fast track, said Tuesday they would act in committee and on the floor to ensure their provisions are considered.
“It makes no sense that we miss these real opportunities to actually make a House statement,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) 92%, said at a meeting with reporters hosted by the Heritage Foundation.
Huelskamp and other Republicans said they do not want to derail appropriations bills but that the upcoming November elections make the 12 appropriations bills a prime chance to showcase their priorities. He said Republicans have missed chances to highlight policy differences with Senate Democrats by not bringing to the floor bills such as Financial Services, which sets the budget for agencies including the Internal Revenue Service, and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, which funds portions of the 2010 health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).
RYAN BUDGET. The House will likely back the budget offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) N/A% (sub. req’d):
The House will have a version of President Barack Obama’s budget to consider as it votes on competing fiscal 2015 budget resolutions including the one written by Paul D. Ryan over the next two days.
As he did two years ago, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) 93%, will offer an alternative his spokeswoman says “is exactly the president’s budget this year” since it lists mandatory programs that Obama proposed and incorporates the president’s policy positions by reference.
Democrats scoffed at the budget amendment, which they called a gimmick, noting it does not include the policy report language. Mulvaney’s “Obama budget” did not get any Democratic or Republican votes in 2012, nor is it likely to get any this year. Last year, the House and Senate adopted their budget resolutions before the president submitted his spending plan, which came unusually late in 2013 because of the very late actions involving the provisions that made up the fiscal cliff (PL 112-240).
GOP leaders are confident that enough Republicans will vote for the fiscal 2015 budget resolution (H Con Res 96) authored by Ryan, R-Wis., for it to pass without any Democratic support, even though a handful of conservatives and some moderates plan to oppose it.
HIGHWAY TRUST FUND. There is a growing threat of bankruptcy in the Department of Transportation’s Highway Trust fund, according to the Senate’s top budget writer:
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) 7% took the Senate floor to warn lawmakers of the consequences of allowing the fund normally used to pay for road and transit projects to run out of money this year.
“Mr. President, since the mid-1950s, our nation has relied on the Highway Trust Fund to support transportation projects — projects that create jobs and keep our economy moving,” Murray said.
“But as soon as July, just a few months from now, the Department of Transportation predicts the Highway Trust Fund will reach a critically low level,” she continued. “If this isn’t resolved, construction projects to improve our roads and bridges could shut down and leave workers without a paycheck.”
The Highway Trust Fund’s coffers are normally filled by revenue collected through the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax. The gas tax has not been increased since 1993, however, and infrastructure expenses have outpaced receipts from the fuel levy by as much as $20 billion per year recently.
The Heritage Foundation has written about how to deal with these issues, recommending Congress should “Recommit HTF revenue to funding highway and bridge programs only.”