Former Gov. Rick Perry addresses the National Press Club's Newsmaker Luncheon on his economic plan on July 2, 2015.
Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty

On pay equity, Perry’s a slow learner

In March 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) dismissed the whole idea of a debate over equal pay for women. Appearing on MSNBC, the Republican called the issue “nonsense,” adding, “We already have laws that protect it.” (What “it” referred to was unclear.)
The Texan received a fair amount of criticism for the comments at the time, and it seemed like a possible opportunity for Perry to learn more about the issue.
But on pay equity, the Republican presidential candidate is apparently a slow learner.
During a Tuesday interview on CNN, host Alisyn Camerota praised the former Texas governor for employing women in top positions in his campaign, but she noted that he had vetoed a law that would have required women to receive equal pay for equal work.
“Women get equal pay. I mean, that’s the point,” Perry insisted. “This is a piece of legislation that basically duplicates what’s at the federal level. In the state of Texas, we think it’s kind of wise not to have too many laws on the books.”
Governor, women don’t receive equal pay. I mean, that’s the point.
On the specific issue of the bill he vetoed, Perry saw the legislation as duplicative of federal law. But it wasn’t – at issue was a measure to empower women to challenge wage discrimination in the workplace. Yes, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but that applied to federal courts, not state courts.
As for the Texas Republican’s assurances that “women get equal pay,” Raw Story’s report noted a recent analysis that found the median annual income for women in central Texas trailed men by nearly $10,000.
At the national level, statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show “women working full-time earn only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.”
It’s not yet clear why Perry sees efforts to rectify this injustice as “nonsense.”