Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

McConnell & Co. still stumbling on women’s issues

For all the reported training/coaching sessions Republicans have reportedly received on talking about women’s issues, it’s tempting to think GOP officeholders and candidates would be better at it by now. But so far, this has been an especially discouraging week.
 
Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, for example, the favorite for an open U.S. Senate seat in West Virginia, appeared on msnbc on Monday and declared, “Women absolutely deserve equal pay for equal work.” Left unsaid was the fact that Capito voted against the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act twice and voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act three times. In other words, Capito believes women “absolutely” deserve equal pay, but she’s uninterested in helping guarantee it.
 
In Oregon, Republican Senate hopeful Monica Wehby explained why she opposes the Paycheck Fairness Act: she believes it would lead fewer businesses to hire women “because of the fear of lawsuits.”
 
And there’s Kentucky, where Joe Sonka reported on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R) latest effort.
Sen. Mitch McConnell spoke today in Louisville at the Kentucky State Police Lab with Debbie Smith, urging the reauthorization of legislation bearing her name that devotes federal funds to tackle the nation’s massive rape kit backlog.
 
The Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Act, first passed in 2004, has little to no opposition in Congress. But as is the case with the current dysfunction of Washington, this bill and other uncontroversial legislation aimed at reducing the nation’s backlog of 100,000 rape kits is currently being held up in partisan gridlock.
Asked to explain why Senate Republicans have blocked an appropriations bill committing an additional $41 million to tackle the rape kit backlog, McConnell didn’t want to talk about it.
When asked by The Courier-Journal’s Joe Gerth if he would pull his amendment in order for the rape kit backlog funds to proceed, McConnell first said he didn’t know what he was talking about. After Gerth followed up with the same question, McConnell stiff-armed by replying, “We’re here today to talk about the Debbie Smith Act, and I’d be happy to respond to any questions about that subject.” After another reporter followed up by asking if the $41 million to reduce the rape kit backlog is important as well, McConnell answered, “It might be. But that’s a separate bill. And we’re here today to talk about the Debbie Smith Act and the importance of getting that passed.”
 
When Insider Louisville asked McConnell why the Senate is unable to vote on or pass the Justice for All reauthorization, he stretched his own credibility by blaming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has tried to call for a vote on the legislation for months, only to be blocked by Senate Republicans.
This comes a week after McConnell’s re-election campaign unveiled a television ad touting his support for the “purpose” of the Violence Against Women Act – a law McConnell has voted to kill on several occasions.
 

Mitch McConnell, Monica Wehby and War On Women

McConnell & Co. still stumbling on women's issues