Morning Action: Sheldon Whitehouse’s Hypocrisy on Equal Pay for Women

WAR ON WOMEN.  Diana Furchtgott-Roth, senior fellow and director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, writes about her appalling experience of being attacked by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) 7% for testifying too frequently on matters of economics and taxation before the Senate Budget Committee and other committees– on “Equal-Pay Day”:

Ironically, Senator Whitehouse’s attack came on the day feminists have proclaimed to be Equal Pay Day, the day they say women’s earnings catch up to men’s. This is what Democrats say they want — women involved at the highest levels of government.

Senator Whitehouse pretends to support women. “We owe it to the hard-working women of the United States, especially in these difficult economic times, when every penny of every paycheck counts, to continue to fight for equality,” he says. He might be for equality in theory, but when a woman is invited as a witness before one of his committees on Equal Pay Day, he complains that she testifies too often. 

Ironically, the messenger he attacked has written five books and hundreds of articles and has served as chief of staff of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as chief economist of the Department of Labor.

It is no wonder she is invited to testify so often, especially since job creation is of primary concern to Americans. Over the past 20 years, she has testified on subjects such as the employment effects of the Affordable Care Act and energy policies, the unemployment crisis for younger workers, different proposals to stimulate the economy and create jobs, the theory of comparable worth, immigration reform, and the minimum wage in American Samoa. Her testimony is all online, available to anyone who wants to read it.

BUDGET.  Today the House will continue consideration of the fiscal 2015 GOP budget proposal, offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) N/A% (sub. req’d):

As a prelude to today’s final vote, the chamber yesterday dispensed with three alternate budgets: A GOP-sponsored plan meant to mirror the president’s own proposal (a notion Democrats dispute) was rejected 2-413; one from the Congressional Progressive Caucus lost out 89-327 and a measure by the Congressional Black Caucus was rejected 116-300. Before today’s Ryan vote, two more alternatives — one from the conservative Republican Study Committee, the other from ranking Budget Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) 14%— are expected to be voted down as well.

Ryan’s blueprint (H Con Res 96) calls for a balanced budget by fiscal 2024, almost entirely by reducing spending by $5.1 trillion over the next 10 years — including by repealing the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148PL 111-152) and reducing spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs. But it lacks the force of law and won’t be accepted by the Democratic-controlled Senate (which does not plan to produce a budget of its own this year), so today is almost certainly its zenith.

UI.  Reports suggest a deal on an unemployment benefits extension may hinge on a job training compromise (sub. req’d):

A potential agreement on a long-stalled House GOP proposal to streamline federal job training programs is emerging as a possible linchpin for a deal on a five-month extension of expired unemployment benefits.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) 55%, said an agreement on a House-passed plan to restructure job training programs (HR 803) could be an attractive partner for the Senate-passed extension (HR 3979) of benefits for long-term unemployed workers to attract support from wavering Republicans in coming days.

“That would be a win-win for everybody,” Heller said. “I would be comfortable with that. We will have to see if the leadership will allow that to happen.”

According to the Heritage Foundation, an unemployment extension would not be a “win-win for everybody.”

Extended unemployment benefits are not an economic free lunch. Economists have consistently found that they prolong workers’ job searches, raising the unemployment rate. Many liberals argue this is a plus—it helps the unemployed hold out for higher wages, but higher wages discourage businesses from hiring, which means fewer new jobs.

OBAMACARE ALTERNATIVE.  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 73%and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) N/A% are developing an alternative to Obamacare, which they could announce as early as this month:

Aides to Rubio and Ryan declined to discuss the forthcoming proposal when asked about it Wednesday afternoon.

“Congressman Ryan continues working with his colleagues, including reformers like Sen. Rubio, on better solutions to deliver quality, affordable coverage to American families,” Ryan spokesman William Allison said.

“I don’t have anything to announce today,” Rubio told the Washington Examiner.


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