The Corner

Blackburn: Women, Not Washington, Should Fight for Equal Pay

Republican representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee explained on Meet the Press why she’s voted against laws aimed at closing the pay gap:

I think that more important than that is making certain that women are recognized by those companies. You know, I’ve always said that I didn’t want to be given a job because I was a female, I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job. And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein — that is what women want. They don’t want the decisions made in Washington.

Blackburn voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2009 and the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2012. ThinkProgress suggests that the congresswoman views such laws as legislative overreach and detrimental to businesses, but in Sunday’s round-table discussion, Blackburn made another argument against them, emphasizing the ability of women themselves to win what they want in the workplace.

Women “want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions” about their careers, she said. As more and more women become the primary breadwinners in American families, Blackburn’s comment suggests that she perceives a growing desire and motivation on the part of women to strive for the jobs and salaries they desire and deserve, without more government-mandated policies altering the workplace environment.

Blackburn’s stance appears to offer a middle ground between those who support legislation correcting the pay gap and those who view it as a “myth” — she acknowledges that there is a wage gap, but asserts that women “don’t want” equal-pay laws to fix it, and would rather do so on their own.

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