Six years ago, President Obama signed his first bill into law – the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to fight wage discrimination. The President and Democrats have been clear that pay equity is a top priority and that the status quo where women make 78 cents to the dollar is not only wrong, it hurts our economy.
Seems like a no brainer that equal pay should be a reality – women constitute nearly half of the nation’s work force, and women are their family’s primary breadwinner in 40 pecent of U.S. households with children. So who is still standing in opposition to legislation that would move us closer to pay equity?
Republicans. Including those who are moving closer to presidential runs. They have made their positions clear by voting against, obstructing, and deriding equal pay legislation.
As the campaign heats up it’s a fair bet the candidates running for the Republican nomination will try to hide from, obscure, and blatantly lie about where they stand in a futile attempt to appeal to women voters but that won’t change the facts.
Take a look:
- Scott Walker repealed equal pay enforcement in Wisconsin and called it a “bogus issue.”
- Chris Christie: repeatedly vetoed equal pay legislation including bills that would have strengthened the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for New Jersey women and required salary transparency for public contractors calling it “senseless bureaucracy.”
- Rand Paul has not only voted against the Paycheck Fairness act repeatedly but also compared it the Soviet Union’s Politburo and he was even critical of the very idea of equal pay for women.
- Marco Rubio voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act and said bringing up equal pay legislation is “wasting time.”
- Ted Cruz voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act and derided it as a “show vote.”
- Rick Perry vetoed an equal pay law meant to prevent wage discrimination against Texas women. Perry also suggested equal pay is not a “substantive” issue and called the focus on equal pay “nonsense.”
- Bobby Jindal voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and opposed measures to bridge the wage gap in Louisiana.
- Jeb Bush when asked about the Equal Rights Amendment movement said “that’s kind of a retro subject,” and when asked about the Paycheck Fairness Act first didn’t know what it was then seemed to deride it as a “definition issue.”
- Mike Pence has repeatedly voted against equal pay legislation.
- Mitt Romney refused to support equal pay legislation during his 2012 campaign and when Romney’s chief policy adviser was asked whether the Republican supported the Lilly Ledbetter Act you could hear a pin drop during the shamefully long silence before he said, “we’ll get back to you on that.” Needless to say, he didn’t offer much support.
It’s not surprising that the GOP presidential hopefuls oppose equal pay – it just reinforces what we already know about their 2016 field. They do not stand with women, they do not stand with middle class families, and they insist on blocking even the most commonsense measures to grow our economy.