The Republican Party Supports Equal Pay for Women — Except When It Doesn't

AP

Republicans are claiming that they support equal pay for women, but the party's recent actions tell a different story.

The claim comes in this tweet from the Republican National Committee (via the Huffington Post) marking Labor Day, the holiday meant for celebrating the American worker by issuing hollow political statements that don't really add up:

This embrace of gender equality by the Republican Party will come as news to many women. In April, Republicans in the Senate unanimously rejected the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have barred retaliation by employers against workers who discuss their wages with other employees and made it easier for workers to sue employers for discriminatory pay practices.

Republicans objected to the bill on the grounds that it would open the door to frivolous lawsuits, arguing that existing legislation already prevents workplace discrimination on the basis of gender. Which is true, but the existing law is clearly ineffective: Women still make only 84 cents for every dollar that a man makes in the same job, according to a recent Pew analysis. Just 14% of Republicans in a Huffington Post/YouGov poll at the time believed new laws were necessary to address wage discrimination (52% of Democrats and 27% of independents believed the same).

In blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act earlier this year, Republicans gave Democrats a line of attack that resonates with many female voters in the run-up to the midterm elections. Last week, a report commissioned by two major Republican groups showed that women "believe that 'enforcing equal pay for equal work' is the policy that would 'help women the most,'" according to Politico, which first reported its findings. In the report, women were said to consider the GOP out of touch and unresponsive to their concerns, with the authors noting that women feel the Republicans "fail to speak to women in the different circumstances in which they live."

Maybe the RNC's tweet is an indication that Republicans are taking its findings to heart, and realizing the political wisdom in speaking to women about the issues they care about. But tweeting about support for equal pay is easy. Actually doing something to address the problem is harder.

h/t Huffington Post