Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) participated in a town hall meeting in Wisconsin. During the discussion, he claimed that he is a strong supporter of equal pay for women and other workers:
We haven’t done enough. We have not done enough. And I’m committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work. That there is equal opportunity in every aspect of our society. And that is my record and you can count on it.
In fact, McCain seems committed to just the opposite. In April, he skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have rectified the Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear “that made it much harder for women and other workers to pursue pay discrimination claims.”
In fact, on that very same day, McCain said that if he had been in the Senate, he would have voted against it because the bill “opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems.” He also dismissed the importance of equal pay, saying that women simply need “education and training“:
“They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else,” McCain said. “And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them.
The issue is not “education and training.” When denied equal pay by her supervisor, Lilly Ledbetter was doing the exact same job as her male counterparts and received numerous performance-based awards.
As the Wonk Room notes, in 2000, McCain also opposed an amendment aimed at providing “more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.” In 1985, McCain voted against a study to investigate pay differences among federal employees and determine whether they were the result of discrimination.
In May, McCain told a 14-year-old girl that equal pay and legislation such as Ledbetter bill don’t do “anything to help the rights of women.” McCain, however, is no expert on women’s issues. He has earned a 0 percent rating from NARAL ProChoice America six years in a row, from 2001-2007. (Tell McCain to support the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act here.)
Today, reporters asked McCain to defend his record on equal pay; he was unable to come up with any actual examples:
I’ve demonstrated it a broad variety of ways from support of women in the military to all kinds of laws that provide employment to all kinds — I’ll be glad to provide you with my congressional record. I’m proud of my support of women over many many years.