Calls to “bring back Al Franken” erupted Wednesday on social media after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, missed a floor vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, one of her pet issues.
A procedural motion Tuesday to bring up the legislation failed on a 49-50 party-line vote, but even if Ms. Gillibrand had participated, the measure would have fallen short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the GOP filibuster.
Still, the missed vote prompted “Al Franken” to trend on Twitter, pushed by progressives who have never quite forgiven Ms. Gillibrand for leading the charge for Mr. Franken to resign over multiple groping allegations. The Minnesota Democrat stepped down from the Senate in January 2018.
Among the comments: “Can we have Al Franken back in exchange for Kirsten Gillibrand?” and “Gillibrand MIA unless it involves demanding Al Franken resign.”
“Yesterday, the Senate failed to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act, as it required 60 votes,” said Duty to Warn, a popular progressive account with 139,000 followers. “This was legislation to fix [the] wage gap by gender. All 8 female GOP Senators voted against. Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t show up. You know who WOULD have shown up to vote? Al Franken.”
Tweeted screenwriter Philip Morton: “How did Al Franken vote on Paycheck Fairness Act? Oh, right. He’s gone thanks to @gillibrandny. How did she vote? Oh, right. She didn’t show.”
Others said that Franken fans should get over it. “WHY are people still caping for Al Franken? Let him go be over there by himself,” said one comment.
“So now the mouth foamers are trying to destroy Kirsten Gillibrand because she missed a vote, even though it was something that wasn’t going to pass at this time anyway, and she surely had a valid reason for her absence. These types aren’t activists, they’re just rage addicts,” said the Palmer Report.
Federal law already prohibits discrimination based on sex, but the bill would have increased civil penalties for violations and retaliation against workers who file complaints, and banned requirements forbidding employees from disclosing their salaries.