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Top Romney Surrogate Says Pay Equity Legislation Is ‘Nothing But An Effort To Help Trial Lawyers’

By Igor Volsky  

"Top Romney Surrogate Says Pay Equity Legislation Is ‘Nothing But An Effort To Help Trial Lawyers’"

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Mitt Romney’s campaign won’t say if the GOP presidential candidate would have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, but on Sunday Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — a top campaign surrogate — disparaged the measure as a giveaway to trail lawyers.

“I think that anyone who’s working out there and making a living, if you’re the most qualified person for the job, you should be able to get paid,” Rubio said. “You should get paid as much as your male counterpart, everyone agrees with that principle”:

RUBIO: But just because they call a piece of legislation an equal pay bill doesn’t make it so. 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 have nothing to do whatsoever to increasing pay equity in the workplace.

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In 2009, Congress passed the measure, named after former Goodyear plant manager Lilly Ledbetter, to help ensure that women are not discriminated against in the workplace. After nearly 20 years of working at a plant in Alabama, Ledbetter found out she was being paid far less than her 15 male counterparts and sued. Eventually, the Supreme Court dismissed a jury award in her favor “because she had not initiated legal action within six months of the first instance of discrimination.”

Congress took up a bill to overturn the decision that workers must file a discrimination claim within 180 days of a pay violation, noting that many women don’t learn about the wage disparities for years.

The bill became the first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law. Romney claims to support pay equity, but won’t take a position on the legislation and has touted as model justices the four conservatives who voted against Lilly Ledbetter.

Update

Paul Ryan made a smilar point earlier this week, telling CBS, “Lilly Ledbetter was not an equal pay law. It was about opening up the lawsuits and statute of limitations,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t an equal pay law, and of course, we support equal pay.”

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