President Obama is scheduled to deliver a statement on Equal Pay Day at 11:45 AM ET. He's expected to address the issue of women getting equal pay for equal work including a pair of executive actions he's taking to help ensure equal pay with Federal contractors. You can watch his statement in the video feed at the top of this post and we'll post updates throughout his remarks. And, as always, join in the conversation below the fold.
8:49 AM PT: As is often the case, we appear to have a bit of a delay—so if you're just tuning in, don't worry, you haven't missed anything yet.
8:51 AM PT: The livestream just went live—to a podium shot. Still awaiting the president, though.
8:55 AM PT: Here's the president, accompanied by Lily Ledbetter. Ledbetter is kicking things off. A group of women is assembled behind them.
8:58 AM PT: After Ledbetter's remarks, President Obama takes the podium.
8:59 AM PT: President Obama thanks Ledbetter "for fighting for a simple proposition—equal pay for equal work." It's "not that complicated," he says.
9:01 AM PT: "Sometimes when you discuss this issue of fair pay, equal pay for equal work ... you'll hear all sorts of excuses," but Ledbetter was"doing the same job" and "systematically getting paid less."
9:03 AM PT: "A woman's got to work about three more months in order to get what a man got, because she's paid less. That's not fair. It's like adding extra miles to a marathon. [...] America should be a level playing field. [... and achieving that] has to be a driving focus for our country."
9:05 AM PT: "When women succeed, America succeeds."
9:05 AM PT: "In 2014 it's an embarrassment" that women make $0.77 on the dollar to men.
9:09 AM PT: To fix this, starting tomorrow, "The Senate can pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. [...] This should not be a hard proposition. It should not be that complicated. So far, Republicans in Congress have been gumming up the works, blocking progress [...] but we don't have to accept this. America, you don't have to sit still."
9:10 AM PT: Interesting: Obama makes it clear (see above) that he sees congressional Republicans as the problem. But he also says, when calling on voters to push back against Congress: "I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican." In other words, the problem is congressional GOP—that's where his focus is.
9:16 AM PT: Again, the president slams Congressional Republicans by name, this time on the budget, for pushing to repeal Obamacare, and on opposing the minimum wage. "It's like a bad rerun," he says. "This isn't just about women—this is about Republicans opposing any effort to level the playing field for working families," he says. "If Republicans in Congress want to prove me wrong, if they want to show they do care about women getting paid the same as men, they can join us tomorrow. They can join us in the 21st century and vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act." And the president again calls on the public to push Senators to vote for paycheck fairness.
9:21 AM PT: And the president has wrapped up his remarks and is now signing the executive orders. Aside from the substance at hand, the thing that struck me is that he repeatedly mentioned congressional Republicans by name as being the problem—this isn't 2009 or 2010 or even 2011 Obama. This time he's naming names.