Johnson Comments on Paycheck Fairness Vote

Washington, D.C. – Senator Johnson made the following remarks on the vote today in the Senate on S. 2199, the Paycheck Fairness Act:

“It’s been illegal to pay women less than men with comparable experience working the same job ever since the Equal Pay Act of 1963.  The Paycheck Fairness Act is nothing more than a cynical political exercise that, if enacted, would severely hamper merit-based pay systems and cause workplace conflict.  This bill would harm our economy and result in fewer opportunities and downward pressure on wages for all Americans.

“The often cited statistic used to ‘prove’ pay discrimination — that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns — is highly misleading.  It compares pay for every man and every woman working in every job.  It ignores job duties, career choices, specific education requirements, work conditions, experience needed, and even differences in what ‘full-time’ means.   As a result, it proves nothing. 

“It is interesting to note that, using that same misleading statistical method, the White House pays women on its staff only 88 cents for every dollar it pays its male staff, and a number of Senate Democrats pay women on their staffs far less than they pay male staffers.  Any hypocrisy there?

“For my part, I always have employed and valued the contribution of women in the places I have worked.  I treat and pay them fairly.   For example, 73% of my current Senate staff is female.  Three of my five state regional directors are female, and all five earn the exact same salary.  Four of my six staff assistants are female, and all six earn the exact same salary. Finally, seven of my top 10 salaried staff members are female. 

“I believe in equal pay for equal work, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Other than its utility as a political wedge, the Paycheck Fairness Act will not further that goal and will do more harm than good.  That is why I could not support it.”