Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters after a policy luncheon today that “really rich, rich, rich, rich, rich people” are trying to keep women from earning as much as men.
Democrats were on the offensive for Equal Pay Day, when President Obama issued executive orders to prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation and to collect information from federal contractors on pay broken down by sex and race.
“For the last few days, you’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, and you’ve heard it. I’m going to repeat it today. In America, a man who works the same job a woman has makes more money than she does. It takes a woman until today every year to make up for what she lost last year,” Reid said.
“So my Republican colleagues, I guess, think that pay gap doesn’t matter that much since I had not a single person come to the floor — well, we’ve had a couple. One of them came and said it was a bill for trial lawyers,” he continued. “But basically they do nothing but stand in the background and filibuster. I get it. Two Congresses ago, they did it last Congress, and they’re doing it this Congress, filibustering our moving to this important piece of legislation.”
Reid spoke of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which comes to the floor Wednesday with heavy opposition from Republicans.
“These really rich, rich, rich, rich, rich people like the Koch brothers, they prefer to go along with women being paid less than men. And like so many things here, the Republicans in the Senate go along with what the Koch brothers want,” he said. “This issue boils down a fundamental question: Whose side are you on? As usual, the Republicans are siding with the rich and not obviously being too concerned about what’s happening with women in America, not getting paid as much as men for doing the exact same work.”
Reid was asked if he’s going to get to the minimum wage bill, seeking a hike to $10.10, before the end of the week.
“I don’t think so. I have a lot of other things I’m going to do,” he said. “I want to put lots of nominations we’re going to move on, as early as probably today. So we’ll have to have a ton of votes before the week is done.”
Then the majority leader was asked by another reporter if he’s “been successful in explaining to America who they are.”
“Well, I haven’t been successful enough, because I’m going to continue. But I do feel good about this, no one knew who the Koch brothers were until we started this little deal here. And now about half the people in America know who they are,” Reid declared. “By the time we finish this, everyone is going to know who these — the two richest brothers in the world are.”