President Obama, who has two young daughters, pressed Saturday for passage of a bill meant to make it easier for women to have their day in court when they feel employers are underpaying them simply because of their gender.
Obama, in his weekly address, said he was disappointed when the Senate fell just short of approving the Paycheck Fairness Act last year. He urged Congress to take another crack at it and vowed, "I'm going to keep up the fight to pass the reforms in that bill."
The legislation would treat gender discrimination involving wages in the same manner as discrimination related to race, age or disability -- effectively opening up another avenue for court challenges. Many business interests oppose it because they fear a flood of litigation.
"At a time when folks across this country are struggling to make ends meet -- and many families are just trying to get by on one paycheck after a job loss -- it's a reminder that achieving equal pay for equal work isn't just a women's issue. It's a family issue," Obama said. "It is something I care deeply about as the father of two daughters who wants to see his girls grow up in a world where there are no limits to what they can achieve," he said.
Women have made great strides, he said. For instance, they are now more likely to attend college than men. Yet American women are also more likely to live in poverty and still earn only 75 cents for every dollar made by male workers, the president said.
For the Republicans Saturday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) talked about energy costs as the price at the pump for motorists continues to rise in part due to the crisis in Libya. Murkowski acknowledged the upheaval in oil-producing Libya and the middle east. But she said the U.S. needs to produce more of its own energy from the Gulf of Mexico, the Rocky Mountain states and Alaska. "Our own shortsightedness and restrictions have played a role" in the cost increases, she said.
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