The Blog

Media Invent Controversy about Mitch McConnell and 'Gender Pay Equity'

3:32 PM, Apr 8, 2014 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Over at Talking Points Memo, Sahil Kapur reports: "On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) dismissed the Democrats' all-out push for action on gender pay equity as a 'bizarre obsession' designed to blow 'kisses to their powerful pals on the left.'" The Chicago Sun-Times picked up the TPM report and is now running a story claiming that McConnell "went on an all-out assault against gender pay equity on Tuesday."

These reports are false. McConnell was referring to Harry Reid's "bizarre obsession" with the Koch brothers, not the issue* of "gender pay equity."

In remarks Tuesday, McConnell said that Reid "launched into another confusing attack on the Left’s latest bizarre obsession." McConnell specifically said he was referring to Reid's comments "yesterday," and Reid's comments yesterday focused on the Koch Brothers. See this April 7 press release: "Reid Remarks On Senate Republicans Ongoing Defense Of The Koch Brothers." 

“Senator McConnell was clearly referring to Reid’s latest rant about the Koch Brothers from the day before," McConnell spokesman Brian McGuire tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD in an email. "Anybody who tries to claim otherwise is simply making it up. Senator McConnell’s speech today mentioned Senator Reid’s speech from yesterday, which was devoted to an attack on the Kochs. In fact, McConnell referred to it as an attack. Clearly, if he was talking about the pay bill, he wouldn’t have described Reid’s speech about it as an 'attack.'" 

Indeed, it wouldn't make sense for McConnell to say that Reid attacked the issue of gender pay equity, but it would make sense to say that he attacked the Koch brothers. Here's a transcript of McConnell's speech today (relevant section in bold), which doesn't include any reference to "gender pay equity": 

“America’s Middle Class is struggling. They need serious job-creation solutions. But that’s not really what they’ve been getting from the President. He seems more intent on staging campaign-style rallies to bemoan an economy he’s been presiding over for the last five and a half years — not really to offer solutions, but more to do what he does best: shift blame. Meanwhile yesterday, here in the Senate, Republicans were hoping the Democrat Majority Leader would finally work with us to pass a job creation package that contains ideas from many of our members — legislation with provisions several key Democrats support too. But that’s not what the Majority Leader chose to do. Instead of focusing on jobs, he launched into another confusing attack on the Left’s latest bizarre obsession. Just think about that: The percentage of Americans in the workforce is at an almost four-decade low — and Democrats chose to ignore serious job-creation ideas so they could blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the Left. At a time when so many Americans are desperate for a good job. At a time of fewer opportunities. People are hurting. College graduates can’t find a job. Working families can’t afford to pay their bills. What they need right now are real job-creation solutions, not some tone deaf blame-deflection rally or some daily bout of shadowboxing on the floor. Some say this is all just embarrassing. But there is one positive side to Washington Democrats’ never-ending political roadshow: it really throws the divide between the two parties into stark relief. On one side, you have a Washington Democrat Party that’s simply run out of ideas. When it comes to fixing the economy, they’ve already tried just about everything their ideology will allow — taxing, regulating, spending,  ‘stimulating,’ you name it — and none of it’s worked. So at this point, they’ve basically dropped any pretense of doing anything serious on the economy. That’s why we heard them essentially admit that their ‘governing agenda’ is actually a political document drafted by campaign staff — that the proposals it contains are basically just show votes designed specifically not to pass. So that’s one side of American politics: a party that’s out of ideas, campaign-obsessed, and utterly beholden to the Far-Left. On the other side, though, you have a Republican Party that’s committed to getting our economy working for the Middle Class. We believe in the power of ideas, and we know that, with the right forward-looking policies, we can — and will — break through the stagnation of the Obama Economy. Republicans’ focus is on offering more opportunity to the Middle Class, and those who aspire to it. Our focus is on offering innovative ways to generate the kind of stable, well-paying jobs the Americans people want. We also know that we can get more done as a country if both parties can work together to see these policies through and leave behind the sterile campaign theatrics that have been on daily display here under the Democrat Majority. So I’m asking our Democrat colleagues to consider dropping all the show votes, the blame-deflecting, and the perpetual campaigning. What I’m asking is for them to consider shifting from policies that don’t work — in other words, what they’ve been trying the past five-and-a-half years — to ones that will. Every Senator was sent here to get things done for our constituents. And we can. We can pass a positive jobs agenda for the American people. All we need is for Washington Democrats to work with us for a change.”

*Democrats and liberal activists claim that women only earn 77 cents for each dollar men make for doing the same work. This claim is false

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers