Equal Pay for Equal Work? Romney Will Have to Get Back to You
Even as top party leaders, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, continue to denounce the GOP’s very real war on women as a “fiction” “manufactured” by Democrats and the media, Republicans continue to add more fuel to the fire.
The Romney campaign got in on the action today. In an effort to distract from Romney’s abysmal record on women’s issues, Mitt Romney launched a bizarre and misleading attack on the president — an attack that none of his campaign’s top policy advisers could actually explain or justify this morning when pressed to do so by reporters.
But things really took a turn for the worse when Sam Stein of the Huffington Post simply asked if Romney supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — the landmark 2009 law signed by President Obama that corrected an erroneous Supreme Court decision and restored women’s ability to seek redress for pay discrimination. The Romney campaign’s response? “We’ll get back to you on that.” Listen to the six agonizing seconds of silence before the non-answer was given.
Things Go From Bad to Worse
In response to the almost immediate firestorm, the Romney campaign eventually put out a statement that merely said Romney had no plans to repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Whether he would have signed it into law remains unknown. Lilly Ledbetter herself, however, was not pleased:
I was shocked and disappointed to hear that Mitt Romney is not willing to stand up for women and their families. If he is truly concerned about women in this economy, he wouldn’t have to take time to ‘think’ about whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. … Anyone who wants to be President of the United States shouldn’t have to think about whether they support pursuing every possible avenue to ensuring women get the same pay for the same work as men.
The Romney campaign then sent out a flurry of statements from female surrogates attacking President Obama. These too only dug the hole deeper:
- Romney surrogates Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) both voted against not only the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but also the Paycheck Fairness Act.
- Romney surrogate Kerry Healey, the former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts who served with Romney, had previously admonished Romney for vetoing women’s health measures relating to cervical and breast cancer.
- Bay Buchanan, another Romney surrogate whom the campaign put on a press call yesterday, has a long history of making incendiary statements attacking the women’s movement, among others.
Given that two of his surrogates voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, we asked the Romney campaign several times if he was opposed to that bill or not. The campaign declined to tell us.
Finally, it should also be noted that absent a badly flawed 5-4 Supreme Court decision, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would never have been necessary in the first place. Every single one of the Supreme Court justices who Romney has repeatedly said he holds up as models for the justices he’d appoint voted against Lilly Ledbetter when her case came before the High Court.
IN TWO SENTENCES: In 2012, women shouldn’t have to wait for an answer about whether they deserve equal pay for equal work. The 72 million women in the U.S. workforce and their families need to know that their basic economic security isn’t an open question.
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