Earlier today I sent Scott Brown an email as part of the American Association of University Women’s advocacy campaign for the Paycheck Fairness Act (and you should too!).
Like any politician who knows they’re on the verge of loosing re-election, Brown’s office was impressively quick to send their generic issue-specific auto-reply (included in full below the fold). And truth be told, from a purely political perspective, whoever crafts these double-speaking constituent correspondence deserves an award. As you’ll see the Senator manages to pretend quite compellingly that he cares about important issues like ending pay discrimination, even though he also manages to talk about how and why he voted against a bill that would do just that.
I’ve received a number of these messages on various topics, and I can tell you that on every topic this formulaic BS works like a charm.
If Scott Brown were ever to dare to make an in-person appearance to talk to constituents anywhere besides his book signings (and his Constituent Coffees, which require us to travel to DC for the privilege of speaking with him), I would love to ask him how he can claim to be so “deeply opposed to discrimination in pay based on gender” while protecting employers from the consequences under the guise of his concern that the law would “place higher costs on businesses, subject small businesses to frivolous lawsuits, and lead to job losses at a time when we can least afford it.”
Does our junior senator not think that businesses should in fact bear the extra expense of actually paying women what they deserve? Does he not understand that the salary disclosures would in fact curb the risk of frivolous lawsuits? Does he really think that women, or voters in general, will want to re-elect someone who has spent his entire term working to to avoid taking a stand for anything and avoiding talking to constituents or the media?
I don’t care who you plan to back in the primary, but I hope that everyone will continue using issue campaigns to remind Scott Brown what Massachusetts stand for, and will keep talking to friends, neighbors, and coworkers about the perpetual lack of leadership and values that our junior senator displays.
Dear Mr. Gilnack,
Thank you for your letter regarding the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3772). As always, I value your input and appreciate hearing from you.
On January 8, 2009, the Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced by then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). This bill would amend a portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) known as the Equal Pay Act to allow more stringent enforcement of gender discrimination in the workplace. S. 3772 would change current law to require employers to justify pay disparities through “bona fide” factors, such as education, training, and experience. This bill would also permit the full disclosure of salary information in response to any inquiry or investigation regarding sex discrimination in the workplace. Any employer who violates sex discrimination prohibitions would be liable in a civil action for compensatory or punitive damages.
During the 111th Congress, the Senate voted on whether to proceed with consideration of S. 3772. I, along with 40 of my Senate colleagues, voted on a bipartisan basis against proceeding with consideration of the bill. I was greatly concerned that S. 3772 would place higher costs on businesses, subject small businesses to frivolous lawsuits, and lead to job losses at a time when we can least afford it. Please know that I am deeply opposed to discrimination in pay based on gender and feel that employers who engage in discrimination should be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the existing Equal Pay Act or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
No further action was taken regarding the Paycheck Fairness Act prior to the adjournment of the 111th Congress in December 2010. Should related legislation be considered by the Senate in the 112th Congress, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. If I can be of further assistance, do not hesitate to contact me or visit my website at www.scottbrown.senate.gov.
Scott P. Brown
United States Senator