President Trump Kills Obama Order Aimed At Closing Wage Gap
On Tuesday morning, new White House employee Ivanka Trump tweeted a clear message: Women should be paid the same as men who do the same work.
The tweet was meant to highlight Equal Pay Day, which falls this year on April 4.
It's a date meant to signify how far into the new year women need to work in order to earn the same amount a man in their position would have earned the previous year.
What the tweet really highlighted, though, was the inconsistency between what Ivanka says and what her boss actually does.
The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order, signed by Obama in 2014, required greater transparency from companies looking to do business with the government.
What Obama's Executive Order Did
The executive order implemented two rules that most affected issues particular to women.
First, "paycheck transparency" required companies doing business with the government to reveal how much they pay their workers.
Second, the executive order required that companies wanting to bid on contracts worth more than $1 million could not use arbitration clauses in contracts for discrimination and harassment disputed by employees.
As NBC's Mary Emily O'Hara mentions, these types of clauses restrict the type of action employees can take against employers regarding civil rights complaints.
It was that same type of clause that forced Fox News' Gretchen Carlson to sue her boss, Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment.
Maya Raghu, Director of Workplace Equality at the National Women's Law Center, told NBC,
Arbitrations are private proceedings with secret filings and private attorneys, and they often help hide sexual harassment claims. It can silence victims. They may feel afraid of coming forward because they might think they are the only one, or fear retaliation.
In general, one of the goals of Obama's executive order was to avoid awarding government contracts (ie, money from taxpayers) to companies that had a history of discrimination.
What Trump's Latest Action Means For The Wage Gap
Trump signing the bill that reversed the 2014 executive order is a win for those who criticized Obama for "federal overreach."
This is the idea that the former president took actions that went over the heads of other lawmakers in order to implement policies himself.
In fact, a part of the executive order had already been blocked this past fall, by a federal judge in Texas.
Judge Marcia Crone said back in October,
The executive branch appears to have departed from Congress's explicit instructions dictating how violations of the labor law statutes are to be addressed.
However, Judge Crone's decision did not block the regulation that required paycheck transparency.
Trump's latest action, however, does.
In addition, Trump's new bill complicates any future administration's efforts to implement a similar regulation in the way Obama did. That's because the bill Trump signed was produced through the Congressional Review Act (or CRA).
The CRA allows Congress to reverse regulations by a majority vote, creating a bill that is sent to the president's desk for signature. Once that bill is signed, the president is then banned from issuing any new regulation that is "substantially similar" to the old regulation.
The bottom line? Any future endeavors on the part of the government aimed at decreasing the wage gap will likely have to come from the Republican-led Congress.
In other words, don't hold your breath.