Policy: Entitlements

GOP defends policies as female-friendly

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Congress,Labor,Democratic Party,2014 Elections,David M. Drucker,Entitlements,PennAve,House Republicans,Gender Issues,Income Inequality

Defensive House Republicans on Tuesday disputed Democratic charges that conservative policies are bad for women.

During the weekly House GOP leadership news conference, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and two senior female Republicans criticized congressional Democrats' push for more federal regulations that they argue would guarantee that women receive "equal pay" for doing the same work as men. Tuesday was dubbed “National Equal Pay Day.”

The Republicans said they have passed dozens of jobs bills that have been ignored by the Democratic Senate that would increase the economic freedom and take-home pay for women and others, and that Democrats are politicizing women and pushing the equal pay issue as a smokescreen to mask President Obama's failure to resuscitate economic growth in the aftermath of the last recession. Those policies, Republicans argue, are disproportionately hurting women.

“As a woman, and as one that has two daughters, I’ve always supported equal pay for equal work, as have all of us, and what we’re promoting as Republicans are those policies that are going to empower women and everyone — people freedom, flexibility, jobs, higher paychecks and the opportunity for a better life,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington, the House Republican conference chairman.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., attempted to explain some of the disparity in salaries among men and women by using a personal experience as an example that doubled as an attack on Democrats for failing to respect women who make different choices.

“Democrats want you to believe that Republicans do not support women in their efforts to be successful. As if conservatives who believe in less government, fair taxes, personal responsibility and freedom are unwilling to support my mom, my sister, my daughter or me,” Jenkins said. “When it comes to employment, the fact is, many women seek jobs that provide more flexibility for their families over more money, which is the choice that I made as a young working mom.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the Democratic National Committee chairman, naturally characterized the GOP position differently.

“They continue to double down on their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act, and with it the provision that bars insurance companies from treating being a woman as a pre-existing condition, increasing the cost of health care for women and their families. The net effect is that while Republicans are fighting against bigger paychecks for women, they would also subject them to higher health care costs,” she said in a lengthy statement commemorating National Equal Pay Day.

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