The Paycheck Fairness Act advocating equal pay between men and women failed to advance in the Senate Tuesday.

The bill received 52 votes in its favor, only 8 votes shy of the minimum to pass to final consideration, according to the Washington Post.

President Barack Obama and his allies in the Senate pushed the bill, an election-year effort to merge political appeals to women.

The paycheck fairness act is not just about women, and it is not just about fairness. It is about the economy.

- Sen. Patty Murray, (D) Wash.

Republicans voted largely against the bill on the basis that its passing could affect business if employees decide to sue for pay-related issues.

"To those of our colleagues who claim to be so concerned about the economy and the middle class, now is your chance to prove to your constituents that you really mean what you say," said Sen. Patty Murray, (D) Wash., as debate opened Tuesday. "The paycheck fairness act is not just about women, and it is not just about fairness. It is about the economy."

Lily Ledbetter, the face of the movement, complained that Obama’s republican challenger would not comment on his stance on the bill.

"Of course Gov. Romney supports pay equity for women," said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "In order to have pay equity, women need to have jobs, and they have been getting crushed in this anemic Obama economy, losing far more jobs than men."

Ledbetter sent a letter to Romney Tuesday in which she again challenged him to take a stand.

"Your campaign will say only that you support the concept of pay equity, but that you wouldn't change any laws to actually enforce it," she wrote. "That's like saying you're for staying dry but wouldn't use an umbrella in a rainstorm."

According the Washington Post, democratic aides have said President Obama’s reelection campaign and Senate Democrats aim to use the failure of the Paycheck Fairness Act as part of a strategy to expose congressional Republican  hostility towards women interests.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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