GOP Leaders Think the Debate Over Equal Pay is “nonsense”


This morning, Governor Rick Perry said the debate in the Texas Governor’s race over equal pay for women is “nonsense,” and that the candidates should instead focus on “substantive issues.” Well, for Texas women, whose median income is $9,349 less than their male counterparts, equal pay is not only a substantive issue, it’s a crucial economic issue for families across the state.

In the past few weeks, Republicans and Texans have said women are too “busy” to fight for equal pay, that they should be better “negotiators” like men, and their gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has made his position clear – he does not support legislation that would bring Texas women closer to pay equity.

But they’re not alone…Across the country, many Republican leaders and 2016 presidential hopefuls have voiced similar positions – from blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act to working at the state level to make it more difficult to achieve parity.

SCOTT WALKER REPEALED EQUAL PAY ENFORCEMENT IN WISCONSIN AND CALLED IT A “BOGUS ISSUE” Green Bay Press-Gazette: “Perhaps The Highest Profile Act By Walker To Fuel Claims He’s Waging War Against Women Was His Signing Of A Bill To Repeal The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act” Which Walker Called A “Bogus Issue” That Leads To “Abusive Lawsuits.”

“Perhaps the highest profile act by Walker to fuel claims he’s waging war against women was his signing of a bill to repeal the 2009 equal pay enforcement act… ‘It’s a bogus issue,’ he said. ‘It is against the law to discriminate against women for employment and to pay them less than you pay men, and it will continue to be.’ Repealing the 2009 act was done to clean up redundant legislation and to stop abusive lawsuits, he said.” [Green Bay Press-Gazette, 5/13/12]·

The Equal Pay Enforcement Act Gave Workers More Avenues To Press Charges Against Employers And Allowed Workers To Plead Their Cases In The Less Costly, More Accessible State Circuit Court System. “The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court.” [Huffington Post, 4/6/12]·

Walker’s Repeal Of The Equal Pay Act Meant Women Could Not Sue If They Were Paid Less Money For The Same Work Nor Could They Even Find Out If They Were Being Paid Less Money For The Same Work. “We mentioned earlier governor Scott Walker on Good Friday repealing the equal pay for women act in Wisconsin. Women now in that state can’t sue if they are paid less money for the same work. They can’t find out if they are being paid less for the same work.” [CNN, Starting Point With Soledad O’Brien, 4/16/12]

CHRIS CHRISTIE VETOED EQUAL PAY LEGISLATION CALLING IT “SENSELESS BUREAUCRACY” Christie Vetoed An Equal Pay Bill – Indented To Prevent Gender Wage Discrimination In Public Contracts – Calling It “Senseless Bureaucracy.” Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt wrote an op-ed describing her struggles with Christie over equal pay legislation: “When Gov. Chris Christie had a chance to sign legislation I authored to prevent gender wage discrimination in public contracts, he vetoed the bill, calling it ‘senseless bureaucracy.’

As chairwoman of the Assembly’s Women and Children Committee, I sponsored a package of four bills designed to ensure pay equity for women in New Jersey. The bills were approved and sent to the governor’s desk for his signature. Of our four bills, he vetoed three. But he reserved his harshest criticism for our efforts to eliminate gender wage discrimination in certain types of public contracting.” [Op-Ed Pamela Lampitt, Star Ledger, 10/23/12]·

Assemblywoman Lampitt: “[Christie] Reserved His Harshest Criticism For Our Efforts To Eliminate Gender Wage Discrimination In Certain Types Of Public Contracting.” [Op-Ed Pamela Lampitt, Star Ledger, 10/23/12]RAND PAUL SAID THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT WAS HARMFUL Rand Paul Voted To Block The Paycheck Fairness Act Saying It Was Harmful. “Kentucky’s two Republican senators yesterday helped their party block the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have given women new tools to combat pay discrimination in the workforce.

Kentucky women make just seventy seven cents to every dollar a man makes. The same holds true nationally… But Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul says the legislation would do more harm than good.” [WKMS, 6/6/12]Headline: “Rand Paul Compares Paycheck Fairness To Soviet Politburo” [Huffington Post, 6/5/12]MARCO RUBIO OPPOSES EQUAL PAY LEGISLATION DERIDING SUCH LEGISLATION WAS “ABOUT SCORING POLITICAL POINTS” AND A BOON FOR TRIAL LAWYERS Rubio Said The Lilly Ledbetter Act Was “Nothing But An Effort To Help Trial Lawyers Collect Their Fees And File Lawsuits.”

The Huffington Post wrote of Rubio’s comments about the Lilly Ledbetter Act, “‘Just because they call a piece of legislation an equal pay bill doesn’t make it so,’ Rubio said. ‘In fact, much of this legislation is, in many respects, nothing but an effort to help trial lawyers collect their fees and file lawsuits, which may not contribute at all whatsoever to increasing pay equity in the workplace.’” [Huffington Post, 10/22/12]Rubio Attacked Democrats For Holding A Vote On The Paycheck Fairness Act And Said It Was “About Scoring Political Points.”

Rubio on Senate Democrats holding a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act: “Once again, Senate Democrats have wasted the American people’s time by holding yet another show vote that proves any sense of urgency they have is about scoring political points instead of solving the problems that threaten America’s future.” [Press Release, Office of Senator Rubio, 6/5/12]Rubio Said The Paycheck Fairness Act Is “Pure Election Year Politics” And It Reads “Like Some Sort Of A Welfare Plan For Trial Lawyers.”

Talking Points Memo wrote on the Paycheck Fairness Act: “‘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]PAUL RYAN REPEATEDLY VOTED AGAINST EQUAL PAY LEGISLATION 2009: Ryan Voted Against The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Of 2009.
[S 181, 1/27/09]2009: Ryan Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act.
[HR 12, 1/9/09]2008: Ryan Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act.
[HR 1338, 7/31/08]2007: Ryan Voted Against The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
[HR 2831, 7/31/07]Ryan Referred To Equal Pay Legislation As “Some Obscure Vote.”
RYAN on equal pay legislation: “What women are asking me about is not some obscure vote or something like that.”

[WKMG, Orlando FL, 8/20/12]BOBBY JINDAL OPPOSED MEASURES TO BRIDGE THE WAGE GAPJindal Vetoed Legislation To Create An Equal Pay Task Force For All Workers. “On the wage front, SB 577 was designed to create an Equal Pay Task Force that would have made recommendations to help close what the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Karen Carter-Peterson (D-New Orleans) called ‘one of the nation’s largest pay gaps… Jindal said he vetoed the bill because it would take funds away from services for the disabled.” [NOLA Defender, 6/9/13]2007: Jindal Voted Against The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. [HR 2831, 7/31/07]

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