The Work Act: Republicans Hate It, But Still Love Working Moms

What Women Really Think
April 20 2012 6:06 PM

Republicans Struggle To Support Working Moms While Hating the WORK Act

Earlier this week, I wrote about a new Democratic-proposed bill called the WORK (Women’s Option to Raise Kids) Act that would allow mothers receiving welfare benefits to count raising children under 4 as the “work activity” required under the law. In a witty move, the sponsors of the bill couched their proposal as a response to Mitt Romney’s recent statement that “all mothers are working mothers”—in other words, what’s good for Ann Romney should be good for poorer women, too.

Well, how do you think Republicans responded to the idea? The Huffington Post collected a number of responses, and reading the interviewees struggle to reconcile their support for Romney-like moms but barely-disguised hatred for less-privileged mothers on the dole has been the highlight of my Friday. Here’s the best quote:

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"Anybody who knows what they're talking about would know it's darn hard work," said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "The entire issue is that women bear a disproportionate share of the hard work. Birthing, carrying, the whole thing -- it's hard work."

But he raised his voice when asked if that meant he could support the Democratic bill.

"Of course not!" he said. "I'm for jobs!"

That’s some fine linguistic parsing between “work” and “jobs.” If you’re looking for comical kick-off to your weekend, check out the rest of Jennifer Bendery’s excellent piece

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.