Where The Candidates Stand On Equal Pay

This story was originally published on April 13, 2016. It's often said that Americans vote with their pocketbooks — so it's no surprise that for most millennial women, equal pay is a major issue. Women in the U.S. continue to trail men in salaries, earning an average of 79 cents on the dollar.
Equal pay ranked among the top five topics for women 18 to 35 surveyed in a recent ABC News/Refinery29 poll. More than one in 10 surveyed said it was the most important issue to them. Women share their thoughts on the issue in the video above. Here's a look at where the current presidential candidates stand on equal pay. For more on the issues that matter most to millennial women, check out the Refinery29/ABC News Vote Your Values poll here.

Donald Trump

Photo: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images.

Where He Stands: Women should be paid the same as men for equal work — as long as they "do as good a job" as their male counterparts. Trump has not detailed a specific policy proposal on the matter. And in an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, he seemed to backtrack in an interview with the hosts, saying "when it comes to categorizing people, men and women into a group, it gets to be very dangerous." "It's very hard to say what is the same job," he said. "It's a very, very tricky question. And I talked about competition with other places and other parts of the world, Mika. This is one of the things we have to look at very strongly."

In His Words:
"You're gonna make the same if you do as good a job."

Ted Cruz

Photo: Scott Olson/ Getty Images.
Where He Stands: Cruz has opposed equal pay legislation in the past. In 2014, Cruz didn't vote to support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which sought to prevent gender-based wage discrimination. The act would have required employers to justify why a gap in pay is based on factors other than gender and create safeguards from retaliation for workers who talk about their salaries. Cruz told Fox News at the time that Democrats had "written these bills because they know that they won't pass, and they're doing it just to score political points." He later voted against another version of the bill. In His Words: Equal pay has "been the law for decades."

John Kasich

Photo: Luke Sharrett/ Bloomberg/ Getty Images.
Where He Stands: At a New Hampshire town hall in January, Kasich reportedly suggested that equal pay isn't necessarily good for women, because they can telecommute during maternity leave. In October, Kasich also suggested that the pay gap is "based on experience." In His Words: "The one thing we need to do for working women is to give them the flexibility to be able to work at home online," Kasich said in January, according to the Dispatch. "The reason why that's important is, when women take maternity leave or time to be with the children, then what happens is they fall behind on the experience level, which means that the pay becomes a differential... And we need to accommodate women who want to be at home, having a healthy baby and in fact being involved, however many years they want to take care of the family."

Hillary Clinton

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/ Getty Images.
Where She Stands: Clinton was the main sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act when she was a senator. In addition, she co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, which extended the time frame for when women can bring wage discrimination lawsuits against their employers. Ledbetter herself, a plaintiff in a major employment discrimination suit and women's rights activist, has endorsed Clinton's presidential bid. In Her Words: "Too many people view it as a women's issue as opposed to what it truly is — it's an economic growth issue," Clinton said in October at a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event. "And it will be great for the American economy when we finally close that gap."

Bernie Sanders

Photo: Spencer Platt/ Getty Images.
Where He Stands: Sanders supports equal pay for women. He voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2014, though the bill was blocked by Senate Republicans. In His Words: "If the U.S. Senate had 80 women rather than 80 men as it does now, this bill would pass immediately," Sanders said in 2014. "It is absurd that women receive 77 cents for every dollar a man makes."

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