Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Sunday that companies should self-regulate and make sure that there is an "even playing field" for women, but that the government shouldn't pass pay equity laws to enforce it.
David Axelrod, former adviser to President Obama, asked Blackburn how she felt about pay equity laws to ensure that women are treated fairly in the workplace.
Blackburn, who voted against the Lilli Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—which resets the statute of limitations for suing for equal pay under the Civil Rights Act—said that it was more important for companies to adopt a "best person for the job" policy.
"I think that more important than that, it is making certain that women are being recognized by those companies," Blackburn said. "I've always said that I didn't want to be given a job because I was a female. I wanted it because I was the most qualified person for the job. And making certain that companies are going to be moving forward in that vein, that is what women want. They don't want the decisions made in Washington, they want to be able to have the power, and the control, and the ability to make those decisions themselves."
The pay gap between women and men has persisted despite more women, 40%, now becoming their household breadwinners, according to a recent Pew poll.
Blackburn has previously also voted against the 2009 Paycheck Fairness Act, which prevented businesses from paying employees less on the basis of gender, arguing that it was congressional overreach.
President Barack Obama has recently called for a new Paycheck Fairness Act because women still make 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.