Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) released a press release Tuesday in recognition of Equal Pay Day asserting that he “unequivocally believe[s] in equal pay for equal work.”
The statement continued:
The United States is the land of opportunity—opportunity for ALL. Race, gender, age, or religious beliefs should never impact or infringe upon one’s chance at the American Dream. When my wife and I owned our business, we practiced this concept. We must ensure that our children and grandchildren are able to live in a free society where individuals are rewarded based on their merit.
Despite his sudden commitment to “equal pay for equal work,” Pearce’s voting record doesn’t appear to match his narrative. In 2007, the congressman voted against the Equal Pay Bill, the early version of the Lilly Ledbetter Act, to make it easier for women to discover salary discrepancies and sue employers. He also voted against the relatively uncontroversial Employment Discrimination Law Amendments in 2008 that would have prohibited employers from retaliating against workers who filed complaints about pay discrepancy and created training programs on wage discrimination and negotiation for women. More recently, Pearce voted against even considering the 2013 Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have strengthened penalties for discrimination and promoted salary transparency, among other measures.
Pearce’s reputation with female voters suffered earlier this year when he argued in his book that a wife’s role in a marriage was to “voluntarily submit” to her husband. He also came under fire recently for hiring a racist blogger as his press secretary.
Pearce may be trying to change his tune now as he runs for re-election in a diversifying district. Republican candidates and strategists are struggling to combat the party’s “war on women” image after losing female voters by devastating margins in 2012. Even three quarters of Republicans support equal pay. ThinkProgress reached out to Pearce’s office to ask if he would support equal pay initiatives in the future, but did not receive a response.