The White House still has "more work to do" on equal pay for women who work for the president, press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
Earnest was pressed by a Washington Post analysis of staff salaries that showed women at the White House make 88 cents for every dollar earned by men. While female West Wing staffers are paid the same salaries as men when they hold the same jobs, men are more likely to hold higher-level, better-paid staff positions. [READ WHITE HOUSE SALARY DATA]
But the White House spokesman argued that the White House outperformed the private sector, where women make just 77 cents to every dollar made by a man.
"The White House is doing appreciably better than the country is more broadly, but we still have more work to do at the White House," Earnest said.
"I wouldn't hold up the White House as the perfect example here, but we are an example of an organization that is making an effort and enjoying some success in making sure that there are women who get equal pay for equal work and women who have an opportunity to advance their careers here at the White House," he continued. "And I think our record, when judged by that standard, holds up very, very well."
He also reiterated that female staffers "get equal pay for equal work."
“The people who have the same title make the same amount,” Earnest said.
And, Earnest said, women head more than half of the White House's 22 administrative departments and have seen high-profile promotions in recent years.
"We've seen women here in the West Wing rise through the ranks into the leadership positions," Earnest said. "And when they rise through the ranks, we see that they are, you know, paid fairly in terms of their receiving their equal pay for the equal work in the same way that their male counterparts do."
Republicans have argued that the 77 cent statistic, frequently cited by the president when arguing for fair pay legislation, simply reflects that women are more likely to work part time or in lower-level positions because of the flexibility it offers for childcare, among other reasons. They say the administration's proposed legislation would open businesses up to frivolous lawsuits over the issue.