Democrats have a new attack line against U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra: He thinks it’s a “nuisance” for employers to have to pay women as much as men for equal work.
The Michigan Democratic Party on Friday released audio of Hoekstra at a campaign event answering a question about whether he would pursue a repeal of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which he voted against in the House.
The law makes it easier for employees to sue employers for wage payments based on allegations of gender discrimination.
“My guess is there are other things that we can do that have a higher priority in terms of what I, what I believe might need to be done,” Hoekstra said. “I think you know we need to create – that thing is a nuisance. It shouldn’t be the law.”
Hoekstra, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to face Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in the November general election, made the comment during a campaign event Thursday at the Commune restaurant in Royal Oak.
And the Democrats pounced.
“It’s insulting to women and their families that Pete Hoekstra thinks a law that guarantees equal pay for equal work is a nuisance and should be repealed … Repealing this absolutely critical protection for women would be yet another blow against middle class families fighting to make ends meet,” Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said in a statement.
Paul Ciaramitaro, a spokesman for Hoekstra, said Democrats are trying to change the national discussion after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen stirred a controversy by claiming GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, has “”never worked a day in her life.”
“This is a desperate attack that Debbie Stabenow’s political henchmen are resorting to because they can’t defend her failed economic policies that have hurt the women of this state,” Ciaramitaro said in a statement. “The real issue is who is going to have the better agenda for all Michiganders and on every key issue — from controlling spending to spurring economic growth to establishing energy independence — Pete Hoekstra offers a bold new vision while Debbie Stabenow campaigns on more of the same.”