It is exciting to see Trish Stukbauer, North Carolina chair of Patriot Voices, quoted at length in a Washington Post story about Rick Santorum campaigning in North Carolina for Mitt Romney. Do read the whole thing. I want to point out a quote from Senator Santorum, though, that I think is important. It is in regard to the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Rick Santorum is a critic of this legislation. He explains here his reasoning for opposing it.
As polls show the tightening of a gender gap and the chase by both Romney and Obama for an elusive “women’s vote” that everyone agrees is far from monolithic, Santorum dismissed all the fuss over Romney’s “binders full of women” and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, touted by the president Tuesday and since as the first piece of legislation he signed.
“It’s very interesting that what Barack Obama pointed to was a trial lawyer’s bill,” Santorum told me after his brief speech. “The Lilly Ledbetter bill basically gives women a longer period of time to file a lawsuit,” he said. “This was advocated by the trial lawyers so they could make more money. This had nothing to do with changing the law with respect to pay for women or rights for women. It simply gave lawyers a longer time to sue. This is the kind of small ball this president is playing. He’s not talking about major issues that can improve the employment picture for women or for people in this country. He’s talking about taking care of his friends in the trial bar.”
I thought you might like to know, there is a difference between being “anti-woman” and being opposed to something that boils down to trial lawyers just trying to make more money.
The Romney campaign doesn’t really have a clear position on this law, but it does seem evident that they aren’t going to be addressing it as a key part of a Romney Administration.
“It’s certainly a piece of legislation I have no intend- intention of changing. I wasn’t there three years ago,” Romney told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an interview this April. “I’m not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed, but I certainly support equal pay for women and — and have no intention of changing that law, don’t think there’s a reason to.”
Many Republicans oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because they argue it’s about lawsuits – not fair pay. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, espoused this position in an interview Wednesday with “CBS This Morning.”
“Lilly Ledbetter was not an equal pay law. It was about opening up the lawsuits and statute of limitations,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t an equal pay law, and of course, we support equal pay,” he said.
The Romney campaign did not answer questions about Romney’s position on the issue in 2009 or about apparent discrepancies among the campaign on that question.
In my assessment, the law would remain the same under Mitt Romney. It’s important that everyone understand, however, that this is not an “equal pay” law. Rather, as Rick Santorum said, it’s little more than a law designed to help trial lawyers make more money.