The National Republican Congressional Committee launched an online ad campaign on Tuesday that uses local "mommy blogs" to target female voters in 20 Democratic-held districts.
The ads, which the NRCC says will be geo-targeted on over 100 popular "mommy blog" sites across the country, including MarthaStewart.com, RachelRay.com, and Recipelink.com, tout a GOP-sponsored bill that would allow workers to trade in their overtime pay for compensatory time off work. The bill, called the Working Families Flexibility Act, is scheduled to be voted on in the House next week.
"Tell Rep. Kyrsten Sinema you shouldn't have to choose between work and family," reads one ad that will run in Sinema's Phoenix district. The campaign's other targets include Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Ron Barber (Ariz.), Ami Bera (Calif.), Julia Brownley (Calif.), Raul Ruiz (Calif.), Scott Peters (Calif.), Elizabeth Esty (Conn.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.), Joe Garcia (Fla.), Brad Schneider (Ill.), Bill Enyart (Ill.), Cheri Bustos (Ill.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Tim Bishop (N.Y.), Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), Pete Gallego (Texas), Jim Matheson (Utah) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.).
Most Democrats and women's advocacy organizations, including the National Partnership for Women and Families, oppose the Working Families Flexibility Act and charge that it actually hurts women in the workplace more than it helps them.
"We think it is a completely disingenuous proposal that will strip people of both the money and the flexibility of time off they need," said Vicki Shabo, director of work and family programs for the National Partnership. "What this bill does is hold out compensatory time as a mirage sometime in the future that workers may or may not be able to use when they need it, and it's taking money out of their pockets for work that they're doing now."
"It's clear that what [Republicans] are trying to do is use all of the facts that are true -- families are working harder to make ends meet, women need more time with their children, there's a care-giving crisis going on -- to appeal to working moms, but the solution they're offering is not a solution at all," Shabo said. "It's a dangerous corrosion of people's rights."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also blasted the ad campaign on Tuesday, accusing the NRCC of trying to whitewash Republicans' record on women's issues and change their messaging without changing any of their policies.
Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesperson for the NRCC, said the purpose of the ads is not only to improve the GOP's reputation among women, but to drum up support for a bill that the organization believes is good policy. "We think this is an important issue to highlight, giving parents the flexibility to spend time with their families and not have to choose between work and their kids," he told HuffPost in a phone interview.
"The campaign is about a piece of legislation which will be up for a vote next week -- it's issue-based."