The White House defended its own pay gap between male and female employees on Monday, as it gears up for an executive and legislative push to reduce wage disparities between men and women.
During his daily briefing, White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked about a study by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, that said women at the White House earn 88 cents for every dollar men earn.
“What I can tell you is that we have as an institution here have aggressively addressed this challenge, and obviously, though, at the 88 cents that you cite, that is not a hundred, but it is better than the national average,” Carney said, as recounted by the Washington Post. “And when it comes to the bottom line that women who do the same work as men have to be paid the same, there is no question that that is happening here at the White House at every level.”
He pointed out that one of the White House’s two deputy chiefs of staff is a woman, and that both earn the same salary. He also said more than one in two departments are lead by women.
Republicans highlighted the study to attack the Democrats’ pay equity push ahead of a Wednesday vote in the Senate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which enhances protections for women facing pay disparities in the workplace.
“All Republicans support equal pay for equal work. … The truth is the ‘Paycheck Fairness Act’ is a desperate political ploy and Democrats are cynically betting that Americans aren’t smart enough to know better,” Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement. “The ‘Paycheck Fairness Act’ doesn’t provide paycheck fairness for women, instead it cuts flexibility in the work place for working moms and ends merit pay that rewards good work—the very things that are important to us.”