I've been working in politics for a long time. I've read a lot of headlines and heard a lot of outlandish statements, but this one takes the cake. Yesterday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced he is "doubling down" on his "war on caterpillars" remarks. You know, the ones where he compared the GOP's very real War on Women to a hypothetical war on caterpillars. And, that's not even the most ridiculous part.
He called the GOP's War on Women "fictional." He said, and I quote, "It's a fiction because, No. 1, there is no war on women." There is no war on women? I couldn't disagree more. Priebus also seems to think that the only issue in the War on Women is abortion. To put it simply, he couldn't be more wrong.
Just yesterday, it took presidential candidate Mitt Romney two hours to decide that he supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This, at a time when women are still earning only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Unequal pay for equal work doesn't just hurt women, but also their families and our nation's economy. How much time did he need to think about it?!
In his own home state, Governor Scott Walker just wiped out Wisconsin's equal pay law. Wisconsin women are earning 75 cents to the dollar and Governor Walker just made it even harder for victims of wage discrimination to fight back.
The absolutely Draconian budget introduced by Priebus' Republican colleagues in Congress targets women of all ages. It would end Medicare as we know it, and that's a service that elderly women disproportionately rely on. Cuts to Medicaid would also make it harder for families to cover medical costs. The budget also jeopardizes many programs working women and families across the country count on to make ends meet, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
And Priebus' GOP allies in the House refused even to consider the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that is not only crucial for women, but one that has -- until recently -- enjoyed consistent bipartisan support. One in four women in America has been a victim of severe physical violence by a partner and nearly one in five American women has been raped. This legislation is not partisan, it's common sense.
These are just a few examples of the attacks the GOP has leveled at American women. The fact that they are proposing these policies is problematic enough. Now, to add insult to injury, the GOP leaders claim that they don't see these policies as demeaning to women. That these are "fictional" attacks.
Women trying to earn a living to support their families don't consider their wage gap fictional. Mothers trying to buy food for their children don't see cuts to SNAP as fiction. Women who have been the victims of sexual and domestic violence don't see the GOP's refusal to consider VAWA to be fiction. Elderly women don't see the end of Medicare as we know it as fiction. These policies impact women every day in very real ways.
A war on caterpillars is absurd. The GOP's War on Women is very much a reality. And it's one we need to win. EMILY's List has an unprecedented number of women running for the Senate and a field of House candidates that is growing every day. These are women who want to focus on the issues that affect American's every day, like the economy and jobs. Women who not only recognize what attacks on women look like, but know how to stop them.
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