NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Republican Sen. John McCain, campaigning
through poverty-stricken cities and towns, said Wednesday he
opposes a Senate bill that seeks equal pay for women because it
would lead to more lawsuits.
Senate Republicans killed the bill Wednesday night on a 56-42
vote that denied the measure the 60 votes needed to advance it to
full debate and a vote. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had
delayed the vote to give McCain's Democratic rivals, Sens. Hillary
Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, time to return to Washington to
support the measure, which would make it easier for women to sue
their employers for pay discrimination.
McCain skipped the vote to campaign in New Orleans.
"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of
legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends
on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all
kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told
reporters. "This is government playing a much, much greater role
in the business of a private enterprise system."
The bill sought to counteract a Supreme Court decision limiting
how long workers can wait before suing for pay discrimination.
It is named for Lilly Ledbetter, a supervisor at the Goodyear
Tire & Rubber Co.'s plant in Gadsden, Ala., who sued for pay
discrimination just before retiring after a 19-year career there.
By the time she retired, Ledbetter made $6,500 less than the
lowest-paid male supervisor and claimed earlier decisions by
supervisors kept her from making more.