A top Republican political operative is skeptical of Democrats’ push on equal pay legislation.
The operative, Katie Packer Gage, a former campaign adviser to Mitt Romney and the founder of a political consulting shop that advises Republicans on appealing to women, said that Democrats are pushing equal pay proposals “to distract women from real issues.”
But Gage cautioned that that doesn’t mean pay disparities aren’t something that women see as a problem.
“Look, women view this as a problem,” Gage said according to CNN. “When you talk to women, and you see in focus groups, they feel it’s a problem. They have anecdotal experience, they feel it, but they don’t have very specific data. Our party’s response has been to push back on it and say it’s not a problem.”
Republicans, according to Gage, need to point out that there’s already a law in place requiring equal pay for equal work.
“I have advised clients when you are asked your position on this, your response needs to be, ‘Duh, of course men and women should be paid the same for equal work!,'” Gage said. “This was settled law back in 1963, and Republicans voted for it. Our party is not quick enough to push back on the fact that we already have a law in this country that requires equal pay for equal work.”
Discussion on equal pay has become a hot topic in a number of high profile races this campaign cycle. In Texas, state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) has hammered her Republican opponent in the gubernatorial race, Attorney General Greg Abbott, on the issue since Abbott said he would veto a version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.