On CNN Wednesday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) told host Wolf Blitzer that she supports equal pay for women despite voting against a measure that would help women achieve that goal.
In response to a question from Blitzer about President Obama’s call for equal pay in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday and whether she is “with the President when he says that there should be laws mandating equal pay for equal work for women,” McMorris Rodgers, who gave the official Republican response, replied:
Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Republicans and I support equal pay for equal work. My message last night was one about empowering everyone in this country, no matter what your background, no matter where you live, what corner of the country, no matter what your experiences are. We want you to have the opportunity for a better life.
But McMorris Rodgers actually voted against laws meant to address the pay disparity between men and women four times. She voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act twice, which lengthened the time for victims of pay discrimination to file a complaint. She also voted twice against the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure aimed at closing the gender wage gap by ending the practice of salary secrecy, thus giving women and others a better chance of rooting out discrimination, narrowing the guidelines for what pay disparities are justified, and strengthening penalties for discrimination as a way to deter it, among other things.
Republicans may say they support equal pay, but they voted unanimously against the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate 2010 and just 10 voted for it in the House. Senate Republicans blocked it again in 2012 with a filibuster.
Meanwhile, progress on closing the gender pay gap has stalled. Women have made just 77 cents, on average, for every dollar a man makes for the past five years.