Unequal Pay Day

It’s 2014. Paying women the same as men for the same work should be a no-brainer, right? Not for many right-wing Republicans. The extreme conservatives highlighted in American Bridge’s new website UnequalPay.com have gone to absurd lengths to block and even undo equal pay protections for women: voting against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, paying female employees less than their male counterparts, and arguing that women don’t really want equal pay anyway, so what’s all the fuss about? The list of these shameful tactics and faulty arguments goes on and on.

In honor of this year’s Equal Pay Day, check out American Bridge’s new website and read below for a few highlights of Republican office holders and candidates whose opposition to equal pay protections should give female voters serious pause at the ballot box.

Background

TERRI LYNN LAND: Said That Women Were “More Interested In Flexibility In A Job Than Pay” Due To Their “Different Lifestyle” And Parenting Responsibilities. During a speech at the Senior Women’s Club, Land said: “Well we all like to be paid more, that’s great, but the reality is that women have a different lifestyle. They have kids, they have to take them to get dentist appointments, doctor appointments, all those kinds of things. And they’re more interested in flexibility in a job, than pay. Although pay is important too.” [Senior Women’s Club, 3/31/10]

GREG ABBOTT: Female Assistant Attorneys General In Abbott’s Office Earned Lower Salaries Than Male Counterparts. According to the San Antonio Express-News, “Equal pay for women is in the spotlight of the Texas governor’s race, and figures from Attorney General Greg Abbott’s state agency show most female assistant attorneys general make less on average than do men in the same job classification. Abbott’s office said the difference is explained by the amount of time that the men have been licensed as lawyers and have served at the agency. But drilling down into different classifications of assistant attorney general, the figures provided by Abbott’s office show there isn’t always a direct correlation between such experience and pay. And of the top 20 highest-paid employees at the agency, just three are women, February salary figures provided to the San Antonio Express-News show. Of the 100 top positions, 37 are held by women.” [San Antonio Express-News, 3/18/14]

PAUL RYAN: Opposed The Lily Ledbetter Act And Argued That It Was “Not An Equal Pay Law.” In an interview on CBS This Morning: “QUESTION: You voted against that act, didn’t you? RYAN: Right, yes and so you know Lily Ledbetter was not an equal pay law.” [CBS This Morning, 10/17/12]

MARCO RUBIO: Called Paycheck Fairness Act “Election-Year Politics” That Read Like A “Welfare Plan For Trial Lawyers.” According to Talking Points Memo, “Republicans unanimously filibustered Democratic-led legislation aimed at closing the pay gap between women and men. The measure would beef up protections for women who sue employers for gender-based wage discrimination or discuss pay with their co-workers — and the GOP blocked it just as it did in late 2010 when the Paycheck Fairness Act last came up. […] ‘It’s pure election-year politics,’ said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). ‘This bill reads more to me like some sort of a welfare plan for trial lawyers.’” [Talking Points Memo, 6/5/12]

RAND PAUL: Likened The Paycheck Fairness Act To The Soviet Politburo. According to the Huffington Post, “The Paycheck Fairness Act failed in the Senate on a strictly party line vote on Tuesday. […] But Paul, a staunch libertarian, said passing a law that would have given judges more leeway to determine if a woman had been paid unfairly would be a step toward reviving the Soviet Union’s notorious central governing body here. The United States’ free market, he argued, works much better at setting wages at the appropriate level. ‘Three hundred million people get to vote everyday on what you should be paid or what the price of goods are,’ Paul told reporters on Capitol Hill. ‘In the Soviet Union, the Politburo decided the price of bread, and they either had no bread or too much bread. So setting prices or wages by the government is always a bad idea.’” [Huffington Post, 6/5/12]

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Conditionally Vetoed Two Equal Pay Bills, Including A Bill To Extend The Period Of Time For Employees To File Gender Discrimination Lawsuits And A Bill To Prohibit Employers From Retaliating Against Employees Who Discuss Salaries. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, “Democrats last year sent the governor a package of four bills on the topic. He signed one (A2647) that requires employers to post information on state and federal gender discrimination laws. He conditionally vetoed the other two bills – one that would extend the period of time employees could sue for gender discrimination (A2650), and one that would bar employers from retaliating against employees who discuss job titles and pay (A2648). On the former, Christie said he was bringing the bill in line with the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act.” [Newark Star-Ledger, 4/9/13]