President Barack Obama made yet another push for the women’s vote today, dropping in on a White House conference call to urge the Senate to pass legislation that would help ensure female workers are paid the same as their male peers.
“We’ve got to understand this is more than just about fairness,” Obama said on the call. “Women are the breadwinners for a lot of families, and if they’re making less than men do for the same work, families are going to have to get by for less money for childcare and tuition and rent, small businesses have fewer customers. Everybody suffers.”
The remarks come in advance of Tuesday’s Senate vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to prevent employers from retaliating against workers who talk about or compare salaries. Republicans are expected to block the bill, opening up a new avenue for Democrats to attack the GOP for waging a “war against women.”
“If Congress passes the Paycheck Fairness Act, women are going to have access to more tools to claim equal pay for equal work. If they don’t, if Congress doesn’t act, then women are still going to have difficulty enforcing and pressing for this basic principle,” Obama said. “Everything that they’re going to be hearing over the next 24 hours can make a difference in terms of how they vote.”
The Obama call was part of an aggressive 11th-hour media blitz to push the bill, as the White House uses the issue to shore up support for Obama among unmarried female voters — a key demographic that some pollsters believe could make or break Obama’s chances in the 2012 election. Leading Senate Democrats hosted a series of calls Monday to call attention to the legislation, and the White House invited supporters of the bill to send e-cards about the gender wage gap.
White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett even joined Twitter this morning, using her inaugural Tweet to point out that, on average, women in the U.S. still make 77 cents for every dollar that men make for the same position. Almost immediately after joining, a Twitter follower Jarrett about her own gender wage parity:
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