Republican Senator Blocks Effort to Pass Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

PregnancyImage via Pixabay

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), joined Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on the Senate floor to seek unanimous consent on a time agreement to pass their Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) this Congress to protect pregnant workers and ensure they have the basic workplace accommodations they need to have healthy pregnancies.

But despite passing the HELP Committee in a 19-2 vote, passing the House in an overwhelming bipartisan vote, and receiving broad support, including from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) objected to an agreement to so much as vote on the legislation.

“I am here today because no one should have to choose between their job and a healthy pregnancy,” Senator Murray said on the floor. “It is outrageous that pregnant women in our country have been pushed out of their jobs by their employers because they asked for an additional bathroom break, because their doctors say they need to avoid heavy lifting, or because their employer can’t be bothered to provide a stool so they can sit down.”

“Let me be clear,” Senator Murray continued. “This is a fundamentally bipartisan bill that we have worked closely with Republicans on. Senator Cassidy co-leads this bill and has been an amazing partner. It passed out of the HELP Committee overwhelmingly. It is supported by Ranking Member Burr. It passed overwhelmingly on a bipartisan House vote. There’s no reason to stand in the way—we can send this to the President’s desk right now.”

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers because no woman should ever have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and being able to keep working to support herself and her family.

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