At an event announcing executive action on equal pay today, President Obama called out Fox News for spreading lies about the pay gap.
The president said:
Everybody who cares about this should pay attention to how the Senate votes tomorrow on this Paycheck Fairness Act, because the majority of senators supports this bill, but two years ago a minority of Senate Republicans blocked this from getting a vote.
Even worse, some commentators are out there saying the pay gap doesn’t even exist. They say it’s a myth, but it’s not a myth. It’s math. You can look at the paychecks, look at the stubs. I mean, Lilly Ledbetter didn’t just make this up. The court when it looked at the documents said, yep, yep, you’ve been getting paid less for doing the same job. Just the court then said, as Lilly said, it’s been happening so long you couldn’t do anything about it anymore, which made no sense, and that’s why we had to sign another bill.
It’s basic math that adds up to real money. It makes a real difference for a lot of Americans that are working hard to support their families, and of course, the fact that we got some resistance on this from folks up on Capitol Hill just fits with the larger problem. This vision that congressional Republicans seem to be continually embracing. This notion that you know, what you’re just on your own no matter how unfair things are.
When President Obama referred to commentators who are claiming that the pay gap doesn’t exist, he was talking about Fox News.
Here is a collection of clips of Fox News claiming that the pay gap isn’t real, and women get paid more than men:
The president took two steps today. He signed an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation. The order doesn’t force anyone to discuss equal pay or make pay rates public, but it does not all employers to forbid employees from discussing compensation with each other.
President Obama also signed a Presidential Memorandum instructing the Secretary of Labor to establish new regulations that require federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor summary data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by sex and race. The Department of Labor will use the data to make sure that federal contractors are in compliance with equal pay laws.
Republicans are claiming that it is condescending to fight for equal pay for women. They are also labeling the Paycheck Fairness Act a desperate political ploy. What they won’t explain is why they are opposed to women getting paid the same amount as men for doing the same work at the same job. They don’t want to talk about that.
President Obama was right to call out Fox News, without mentioning their name, for spreading falsehoods about the pay gap. For millions of Americans, equal pay is a critical economic. Republicans who claim that this is a political ploy don’t understand what it is like to work hard and still be struggling to make ends meet.
Equal pay isn’t a “women’s issue.” It’s an American issue. This discrimination hurts the economy. Republicans are living in an alternate reality where the pay gap doesn’t really exist, but they are going to get a jolt back into the real world this November when women and men who care about this issue go to the polls on Election Day.
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