Appearing on “Morning Joe” in support of the president’s State of the Union agenda, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett took heat from former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina on leading by example on equal pay for women.
President Obama briefly challenged Congress on equal pay for women during his State of the Union address, getting applause from Democrats and a few Republicans.
“I think, certainly, every woman on this panel and every woman across the nation agrees that equal pay for equal work is absolutely required,” Fiorina began.
“I am struck by the fact the president hasn’t really led in this regard. He’s not paying women equally by his own measures in his own White House,” Fiorina told Jarrett. “And I am also struck by the fact that the single greatest impediment to equal pay for equal work is this seniority system, which pays not on merit, not on performance, but on time and grade.”
“And who is it who supports the seniority system?” Fiorina continued. “Unions, government bureaucracies, the vast majority of constituencies that the Democratic Party represents and who support the Democratic Party.”
“So why wouldn’t the White House take on the seniority system and say let’s pay women by merit and by their results?” the potential 2016 presidential candidate asked. “Because based on my own experience, in those scenarios, women will be paid equally.”
“Let’s unpack your question a little bit,” Jarrett started. “So, first of all the first question and last question, let’s weave them together: in the White House women do earn equal pay for equal work.”
“The bill that’s currently before Congress would make it easier for women to find out if they are being discriminated against,” she continued. “The first bill the president signed, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, was an important step….But there is no good reason why Congress hasn’t passed the Paycheck Fairness Act.
“If they don’t think that does the job, what’s their solution?” Jarrett asked.
The Washington Post buttressed Fiorina’s point when it reported in July that men working in Obama’s White House are paid 13 percent more than women.
[h/t: Weekly Standard]