President Obama and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave the weekly
political addresses Saturday. They both mentioned equal pay for women,
but from there the talks split into partisan themes.
By Brad Knickerbocker
There are some political issues that by definition are bipartisan,
impossible to argue about without automatically losing votes just by
being against the obvious.
Like equal pay for equal work — especially for women, many knowing
firsthand the meaning of “glass ceiling” and “77 cents for every
In their typically talking-past-each-other radio/Internet addresses
Saturday, President Obama and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of
Washington State (the senior Republican woman in the U.S. House of
Representatives) both talked about equal pay.
No surprise, they’re both for it.
“It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad
Men’ episode, and give every woman the opportunity she deserves,”
Obama said, referring to the popular TV series that has women in the
workplace fighting discrimination through recent decades.
Although Obama can refer to his daughters in this context now and
then, for Rep. McMorris Rodgers the issue is, by definition, more
personal. “As a woman who worked at McDonald’s to get through
college… as the mom of two young daughters… and as the elected
representative of thousands of hardworking women, I have always
supported equal pay for equal work,” she said. “And if a woman is
being paid less than a man because of gender discrimination, that is
both wrong and against the law.”
From there, the two quickly split off into partisan directions.
Without using Democrat phrases like “gender gap” or “war on women,”
Obama asserted that “On issues that would benefit millions of women,
Republicans in Congress have blocked progress at every turn.”
He was speaking of things like raising the minimum wage for all
Americans, which he has done by executive order — to $10.10 an hour —
for federally-funded workers employed by federal contractors.
“House Republicans won’t vote to raise the minimum wage or extend
unemployment insurance for women out of work through no fault of their
Obama said in his brief address. “The budget they passed this week
would force deep cuts to investments that overwhelmingly benefit women
and children — like Medicaid, food stamps, and college grants. And of
course, they’re trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the
fiftieth or so time, which would take away vital benefits and
protections from millions of women.”
Republicans have a different view, according to McMorris Rodgers.
“For women across America, it’s not just about equal pay,” she said in
her radio address. “It’s about achieving a better life.”
“Unfortunately, the president’s economy is doing exactly the
opposite,” she continued. “The unemployment rate for women rose last
month — meanwhile, growth is slow and wages are stagnant.”
Her solution: “improve job training and help connect out-of-work
Americans with the skills they need… a real all-of-the-above energy
policy that helps lower bills on everything from gas to groceries…
health care reforms that lower costs and preserve peace of mind in
Women are starting two out of three small businesses, “so let’s rein
in red tape and start overhauling the tax code to support our
innovators and manufacturers,” she said. “And women juggle life, work,
and everything in between — so let’s give workers the option of using
their overtime toward paid time off if that’s what they’d rather
She didn’t mention it Saturday, but McMorris Rodgers has voted against
raising the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 level.