Mccain opposes equal pay for women
April 30, 2008
Republican Sen. John McCain, campaigning through poverty-stricken cities and towns, said on April 23 he opposes a Senate bill that seeks equal pay for women because it would lead to more lawsuits.
Senate Republicans killed the bill April 23 on a 56-42 vote that denied the measure the 60 votes needed to advance it to full debate and a vote. McCain’s Democratic rivals, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama returned to Washington to support the measure, which would make it easier for women to sue their employers for pay discrimination.
McCain did not take time off the campaign trail to vote—despite the fact that he has the Republican nomination locked up. But most working women will probably think it’s just as well he didn’t come back for the vote, since he would have voted against this equal pay measure.
McCain said he was “all in favor of pay equity for women,” but worried that the bill “opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems,” according to an Associated Press story on April 23.
The bill sought to counteract a Supreme Court decision limiting how long workers can wait before suing for pay discrimination.
It is named for Lilly Ledbetter, a supervisor at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s plant in Gadsden, Ala., who sued for pay discrimination just before retiring after a 19-year career there. By the time she retired, Ledbetter made $6,500 less than the lowest-paid male supervisor and claimed earlier decisions by supervisors kept her from making more.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 last year to throw out her complaint, saying she had waited too long to sue.
McCain stated his opposition to the bill as he campaigned in rural eastern Kentucky, where poverty is worse among women than men. The Arizona senator said he was familiar with the disparity but that there are better ways to help women find better paying jobs.
“They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else,” McCain said. “And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them.”
It’s unclear where McCain plans to get the money to pay for programs like education and training. According to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McCain has proposed more than $300 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy and said, unlike President Bush, he will pay for these tax cuts by “cutting spending.” But he has “failed to give details about what, exactly, [he] would cut.” The analysis by Center for American Progress said McCain would need to cut more than $250 billion from spending, above and beyond the spending cuts he has already identified.
Perhaps working women should wait on McCain’s theoretical “education and training” programs before demanding federal action to assure equality in the workplace? Then again…