The looming vote could revive a recent controversy that erupted around equal pay issues. On a recent Romney campaign conference call, HuffPo’s Sam Stein asked Romney surrogates whether Romney supports the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which mad e it easier for people to challenge pay discrimination. The campaign at first waffled, but then released a statement confirming that Romney “supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law.” But Romney’s campaign has not said whether he would have signed that law in the first place.
Now Romney’s rhetorical support for pay equity faces another test in the looming Senate vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act.
This Act would put more pressure on employers to prove that differences in wages are not rooted in gender difference, and would make it easier for employees to divulge information about their salaries, which would in turn facilitate deterring or challenging pay discrimination.
Two years ago Senate Republicans opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which had strong support from Obama, and it’s likely they will do so again. But Romney is on record supporting “pay equity” in principle, so he’d either have to break with that principle, or break with Senate Republicans, at a time when the battle over the female vote is raging in the presidential race. If Romney supports the measure, it could make passage of it more likely.
After Thursday's Violence Against Women Act vote, opposed by 31 male Republican senators while supported by all the women senators in both parties and all the Democrats, another vote on women's issues that will certainly have an outcome almost exactly the same will just prove the Dems' point: Republicans talk, Democrats do on women's issues. You don't get much more Grand Old Misogynist party than that.
The ball now goes to Orange Julius and Mitt Romney. Where will they stand on those issues, and how big of a split will open up for the Dems to take advantage of?
Going to be a heck of a Mother's Day this year.