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MILLER: Harry Reid’s hypocrisy on ‘Equal Pay Day’: All Senate Democrat leaders top aides are men
Reid, Durbin, Schumer, Murray all have male chiefs of staff and communications directors
Question of the Day
Democrats are trying to get the female vote in November with a public relations campaign about “equal pay for equal work,” yet they are not practicing what they preach. The White House and Senate Democratic leaders employ fewer women as top aides, so they earn less.
To play off “Equal Pay Day” on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a show vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which shifts the burden to employers to prove pay discrepancies are not related to gender. Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Chuck Schumer tweeted Monday: “Without action to address the gender pay gap, women won’t reach pay equity until 2058.”
But Mr. Schumer, Mr. Reid and the others in the Senate Democratic leadership — Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Conference Secretary Patty Murray — are hypocritical in saying they want women to have equal seniority and pay.
Not one of them has a female chief of staff or communications director, the person spearheading this week’s publicity stunts. Mr. Reid’s spokesman, Adam Jentleson, did not respond to a request for comment.
Ms. Murray is the only woman on either side in leadership, but she’s also in the lowest-ranking position. The Washington Democrat tweeted Monday: “50+ yrs since JFK signed #EqualPay Act women still earn just 77¢ to every $1 men make.” Yet her top adviser and the communicator for this message are men.
One female Senate Republican aide told me that, “It’s a bit ironic that the male-dominated Senate Democrat leadership communications staff is trying to tell American women what they need to get ahead in the workplace.”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching an advertising and social media campaign around the catchphrase “GOP pay gap,” to try to convince women that Republicans don’t want them to be paid a fair salary.
On the contrary, Senate GOP leaders demonstrate gender equality in the workplace.
The top two leaders have female chiefs of staff — Sharon Soderstrom for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Beth Jafari for Minority Whip John Cornyn. These women are also the highest-paid chiefs of staff in leadership, which is commensurate with their positions.
Four of the five leaders — Mr. Cornyn, Conference Chairman John Thune, Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso and Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt — have female communications directors. These high-power jobs usually are not family-friendly, yet two of these women are working mothers.
Furthermore, these women are paid an average salary of $124,000, which is about $18,000 a year more than Democrats pay men doing the same job.
When asked about the discrepancy, one female leadership aide for a Republican responded, “A male-dominated comms leadership staff is trying desperately to start a messaging war — claiming Republicans are the ones who oppose women having more opportunity and getting paid more in the workforce?”
Mr. Obama will announce two executive orders Tuesday to supposedly help women who work for the federal government earn the equivalent of men in the same positions.
It is unlikely that the president will mention that his White House paid women an average 12 percent less than men on staff in 2013, according to an analysis by American Enterprise Institute.
Perhaps the reason Democratic senators don’t have women advising them on communication is that they are tone-deaf to what we care about in this election cycle. Obamacare, the economy and jobs are the concerns of the majority of women, not the government intervening in perceived sexism in the workplace. The GOP gets it.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours” (Regnery 2013). Miller won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.
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