Despite Equal Pay Agenda, Gap Continues to Exist in the White House

Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 09:28 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A CNN correspondent needled spokesman Josh Earnest Wednesday on President Barack Obama's double standard when it comes to equalizing America's salary gender gap for women who work in the White House.

"It keeps coming up repeatedly that the metric the White House cites for there being a gap nationwide is also there at the White House," CNN's White House reporter Michelle Kosinski said before Earnest interrupted her.

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"Just a factual point before we continue this: the statistic that's cited about the country is about 77 cents on the dollar, and I think the White House was 88 cents on the dollar," Earnest replied, according to a transcript and video of the chilly exchange posted by Real Clear Politics.

"So the White House is doing appreciably better than the country as a whole probably, but we still have more work ot do at the White House. There are a lot of ways to evaluate pay equity, right?"

But Kosinski followed up, asking if the White House should be using averages to examine the pay gap, to which Earnest shot back:

"I think there are a variety of measures to try to get at whether or not workers are receiving equal pay for equal work. You can look at whether individuals who hold the same title make the same salary. That's certainly the case at the White House."

Earnest cited Dan Pfieffer being paid the same salary the president's senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is paid.

"So there is equal pay for equal work that is demonstrated here at the White House," he asserted. "I point out that of all of the departments here at the White House, 22 different departments, more than half of them are run by women. We have women in senior positions who are being paid in line with those senior positions."

According to data released Tuesday, the average man working at the White House earns $88,600, while the average woman earns $78,400, a 13 percent gap.

The gap hasn't changed since 2009, when Obama began his second term.

The president has made pay equity one of his primary agendas, pushing for a raise in the minimum wage, and advocating for increased equal-pay opportunities for women.

"This is not a women's issue, this is a family issue," Obama said last month in a speech in Pittsburgh.

"Women now bring in close to half of all income, and there are a whole lot of families out there where the woman is the primary breadwinner."

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