In Florida today, President Obama dropped the queen mother of all truth bombs on the Republicans, as the president wiped the floor with the GOP for opposing equal pay for women, and for having wasted the country’s time on 50 attempts to repeal the ACA.
While speaking in Florida, the president said:
Today, more women are their family’s main breadwinner than ever before. But on average, women are still earning just 77 cents on every dollar that a man does. Women with college degrees may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career than a man at the same educational level. And that’s wrong. This isn’t 1958, it’s 2014. That’s why the first bill I signed into law was called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — and it made sure that it was easier for women to sue if they weren’t being paid the same as men.
And in the coming weeks, Congress will have a chance to go even further by voting yes or no on what’s called the Paycheck Fairness Act. Right now, a majority of the senators support that bill but so far Republicans have blocked it. We’ve got to get them to change their minds and join us in this century — because a woman deserves equal pay for equal work. It’s pretty straightforward.
And Congress should not stop there. A woman deserves workplace policies that protect her right to have a baby without losing her job. It’s pretty clear that if men were having babies — we’d have different policies. I mean, we know that, that’s for certain. A woman deserves to take a day off to care for a sick child or a parent without running into hardship.
So Congress needs to act so that Americans join every other advanced nation on Earth by offering paid leave to folks who work hard every day. It’s time to do away with some of these workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode. We’ve got to make sure that every woman has the opportunities that she deserves — because when women succeed, America succeeds. I truly believe that.
And in the roundtable I just had there were at least three or four folks in that roundtable, the majority of the women I just talked to had an instance in their lives where either because of a sick child or a premature baby or an ailing parent, they would be bankrupt had they not had health insurance. Broke. So when you hear folks talking about Obamacare and I’m not using it because I’ve got health insurance or I’m healthy, well, yes, you don’t need health insurance until you need health insurance. It seems like a drag until you actually confront what life does to all of us at some point. Some unexpected thing happens and you want to make sure that you’ve got that support.
Now, none of that has stopped Republicans in Congress from spending the last few years not focused on legislation to create jobs, or raise wages, or help more young people afford college. They’ve taken 50 votes to try to repeal or undermine this law — 50. You know what they say — the 50th time is the charm. Fifty times. And it’s not just to try to improve the law or here’s a particular problem. No, we just want to scrap it so that millions of people who now have health insurance, we want them to go back to not having health insurance.
Well, that’s not going to happen. They can keep wasting their time repealing — trying to repeal the ACA; we’re going to keep working to make this law work better because every person and every woman deserves to control her own health care choices — not her boss, not her insurer, surely not Congress.
President Obama was on quite a roll. In the same twenty plus minute speech, he drilled Republicans for opposing equal pay, and he pointed out what a giant waste of time their fifty odd attempts to repeal Obamacare is. The two issues are related. The Republican agenda involves both controlling women in the workplace and in the doctor’s office.
The president was correct. Soon the majority of America’s highly educated workforce will be women, and these women deserve equal pay for equal work. All women deserve not to have their gender use as an excuse for discrimination.
It’s about more than politics. The fundamental question is will the United States be a 21st Century nation, or will Republicans be allowed to drag us back to the 19th or 20th centuries? While Republicans are trapped in the past, Obama and the Democrats have a vision for the future of this country. That future involves a path to universal access to healthcare, and equal pay for women.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association