Last summer, Republican senators filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have bolstered protections for women who are discriminated against in their paychecks and increased salary transparency to let women find out if they were being paid less than their male colleagues. The bill was filed again this year by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), with 192 members signing on as co-sponsors. Yet the Paycheck Fairness Act, HR 377, has been stalled in committee since January. DeLauro filed a petition to discharge the bill this morning, two days after Equal Pay Day. The petition would force HR 377 out of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. If DeLauro’s petition gets 218 signatures, the bill will get a vote in the full House.
As the House committee sits on the bill, the average woman in virtually every field is losing out on more than $430,000 over their career due to the gender wage gap. Women are paid 77 cents to every dollar earned by a man. For minority women, the gap is even wider, around 60 cents for Latino women and 69 cents for African American women. While the gap is shrinking, progress has stalled in recent years — if the current rate continues, women’s salaries won’t catch up to men’s for 45 years.
The Paycheck Fairness Act increases penalties for employers who discriminate against women through paychecks, protects people who sue over pay equity, and allows employees to discuss their salaries so women can discover any discrepancies.
Voters overwhelmingly support pay equity, yet Republicans continue to block the bill because they insist there is no pay gap and it would hurt businesses. Yet the districts with the widest gender wage gaps are represented by Congressmen who oppose pay equity laws.
On Thursday, Republicans defeated a vote to take up the Pay Equity Act as a prior question on legislation limiting the authority of the National Labor Relations Board.