Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico shows off the Republican gap between words and deeds, saying "I unequivocally believe in equal pay," but whenever he has the chance, he votes against equal pay measures. But plenty of Republicans would take the next step, from Texas Gov. Rick Perry calling talk about equal pay "nonsense" to Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land saying women are "more interested in flexibility in a job than pay." Tuesday, though, Rep. Lynn Jenkins laid out what may be the definitive House Republican position on equal pay; she was even speaking at the weekly House Republican news conference when she said:
"Please allow me to set the record straight. We strongly support equal pay for equal work, and I'm proud that I live in a country where it's illegal to discriminate in the workplace thanks to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964," said Jenkins. "Some folks don't understand that women have become an extremely valuable part of the workforce today on their own merit, not because the government mandated it." [...]Let's take this apart, shall we? On the one hand, it's good that it's illegal to discriminate. Laws passed in the 1960s created that state of affairs. But if you think that new laws could move us closer to having equal pay be a reality and not just the law, well, that's crazy talk. You'd have to be an idiot to think it, and it's an insult to women to think that the government should help them address discrimination, because women are in the workforce on their own merit, without government help ... except for the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And equal pay is a condescending from the real economic issues—which is to say, equal pay is not an economic issue?
"Many ladies I know feel like they are being used as pawns, and find it condescending [that] Democrats are trying to use this issue as a political distraction from the failures of their economic policy," Jenkins said.
But that's the House. What about the Senate? Well, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talked about equal pay on Tuesday—to basically dismiss it as not a real solution to real problems. But mostly he wanted to complain that Harry Reid was being mean about the poor oppressed Koch brothers. It's not hard to tell where equal pay ranks on McConnell's priority list.
8:40 AM PT: As expected, Republicans have blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate. Votes may still trickle in, but the vote currently stands at 54 in favor, 43 against—which in the world of the Senate means the bill loses.