The head of RedState Women, a new Republican PAC in Texas aimed at rallying women voters for GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, got a little tripped up on Sunday trying to explain the GOP's alternatives to the equal pay laws they oppose.
Cari Christman, executive director of the PAC, told WFAA that Republicans oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because "women want real-world solutions to this problem, not more rhetoric." The law, signed by President Barack Obama in 2009, allows women to file a claim against pay discrimination when she discovers it, not a limited amount of time after the unequal pay began.
When asked what her proposed solution to the gender pay gap might look like, she began repeating the point that women are "busy."
"If you look at it, women are extremely busy," she said. "We lead busy lives, whether working professionally, whether working from home, and times are extremely busy. It's a busy cycle for women, and we've got a lot to juggle. So when we look at this issue we think, what's practical? And we want more access to jobs. We want to be able to get a higher education degree at the same time we're working or raising a family."
Democratic candidate Wendy Davis has been going after Abbott on equal pay in recent weeks. In addition to dodging the question of whether he supports equal pay, the Davis camp points out, he actively fought against it during his career as Texas Attorney General. Abbott successfully argued before the Texas Supreme Court in Prairie View A&M University v. Chatha that the federal Ledbetter Act did not expand the time under which people could bring equal pay claims under Texas state law, so a female state college professor who was paid unfairly could not sue more than 180 days after the discrimination began.
Davis feels differently about the issue. As a state senator, she cosponsored a bill that would have mirrored the Lilly Ledbetter law in Texas, expanding the avenues by which women can legally challenge their employers for paying them less than their male colleagues for the same work.
Rebecca Acuna, spokeswoman for the Davis campaign, responded in a statement:
"These out-of-touch comments from a top Greg Abbott ally are no surprise given that Abbott fought against equal pay for equal work in the courtroom at the same time he accepted a 62% taxpayer-funded pay raise for himself. Here's a newsflash for Greg Abbott: Women aren't too 'busy' to fight for economic fairness for all hardworking Texans and they aren't too 'busy' to reject his business as usual opposition to equal pay legislation at the polls next November."