For six months, we’ve waited for Mitt Romney to give his opinion on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. For six months, the Republican presidential hopeful has refused to take a stand.
So, the voting public will simply have to remain in the dark? Not exactly – there’s ample evidence that the Romney campaign and its surrogates strongly oppose the pay-equity bill.
Yesterday on ABC, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a leading Romney surrogate, argued, “[J]ust because they call a piece of legislation an equal pay bill doesn’t make it so. In fact, much of this legislation is, in many respects, nothing but an effort to help trial lawyers collect their fees and file lawsuits, which may not contribute at all whatsoever to increasing pay equity in the workplace.”
Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, said something very similar last week, criticizing the proposal as being little more than “opening up the lawsuits and statute of limitations.”
Romney allies have pushed this line for for months. Pete Hoekstra, the Republicans’ U.S. Senate hopeful in Michigan, called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay law “a nuisance.” A Romney surrogate in New Hampshire said the law is little more than “a handout to trial lawyers.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) agrees.
Rich Beeson, political director for Mitt Romney’s campaign, dismissed this as a campaign issue altogether, saying of the Obama campaign, “[T]hey want to talk about the small things and distract America from the important things.”In other words, efforts to ensure equal pay for equal work are “small” and unimportant.
Romney may be reluctant to answer the Lilly Ledbetter question, but the truth is hardly elusive.