Durbin: McConnell's words highlight party differences on women

Anne Wernikoff

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnell9/11 bill is a global blunder that will weaken US efforts abroad States urged to bolster election security How the White House got rolled on the Saudi-9/11 bill MORE's (R-Ky.) comments Tuesday show the stark contrast between the two parties on women's issues.

The Senate is considering the Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 2199, from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). The first procedural vote will take place Wednesday morning and Democrats will need at least five Republicans to join them in order to advance the legislation.

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"Tune in tomorrow and find out whether five Republicans will join us to raise this issue of pay fairness for women across America. I am not encouraged by the statement just made on the floor by the Republican Senate Leader," Durbin said. "He said that we were blowing 'a few kisses' to our powerful pals on the left with this legislative agenda."

Democrats have decided to use wealth inequality as a major campaign issue in November’s mid-term election.

McConnell has accused Democrats of taking political show votes on unemployment insurance extensions, fair pay for women and raising the minimum wage instead of allowing votes on Republican ideas that aim to create more jobs, such as repealing ObamaCare and forcing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

He has also repeatedly criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for floor comments criticizing Charles and David Koch, two billionaire brothers who have backed super Political Action Committee campaigns touting conservative causes.

“Instead of focusing on jobs, he launched into another confusing attack on the left’s latest bizarre obsession,” McConnell said Tuesday, referring to Reid's comments about the Koch brothers on the Senate floor on Monday. “Democrats chose to ignore serious job-creation ideas so they could blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.”

"People are hurting," McConnell said. "What they need right now are real job-creation solutions, not some tone deaf blame-deflection rally or some daily bout of shadowboxing on the floor."

 — This article was corrected at 2:02 p.m. to clarify McConnell's remarks.