RNC: Democrats Don't Want Honest Conversation on Equal Pay

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 12:23 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Democrats are using the gender pay gap for political purposes and are not really seeking an honest conversation on the issue, said Kirsten Kukowski, national press secretary for the Republican National Committee.

"We have this conversation that, it seems very political, because of the timing that they bring it up, and that they're not willing to actually have an honest conversation and use math that makes sense," Kukowski told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday.
"What we see is this creeps up every time the Democrats are struggling with their messaging."

The White House on Tuesday hosted Equal Pay Day, a roundtable event to highlight the gender wage gap issue. President Barack Obama is expected to sign executive orders that offer employment protections to women hired by federal contractors.

Story continues below video.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill before the Senate, is similar to the president's executive orders and extends wage protections to all workers. Kukowski argued that more legislation is not needed because pay discrimination is already illegal.

Kukowski said that if Democrats wanted to have an "honest conversation" about the wage gap issue, they should address problems with the economy and consider the "40 pieces of legislation that the House has passed" to tackle economic problems.

Republicans agree with Democrats that women should be paid the same as men for equal work, Kukowski said. Their difference is over the level of government involvement in employee issues.

"What we don't agree with is that we need to have more government, more regulation. That's actually hurting women, and, in fact, all employees, if you go forward with this legislation," she said.

Kukowski explained that Republicans are "tired of having the Democrats go out there and make assertions and assumptions about what Republicans believe, when actually it's completely inaccurate."

White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett argued that additional regulations are needed because "many times women have no idea that they're being discriminated against." She said there was a "responsible role" for the government to play in the issue.

"Government's role is to provide those women who are being discriminated against with the tools that they need to make sure that they get equal pay," Jarrett told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Even though wage discrimination based on gender is already against the law, Jarrett said, "It happens all the time." She said additional regulations would also benefit employers to avoid lawsuits over gender pay.

"Employers also should welcome these new tools that they'll have available so that they can avoid lawsuits, because they'll have the statistics to be able to correct pay discrepancies before it ever gets to litigation," she said.

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