‘It’s time to put teeth into laws that ensure women get paid the same as men’ – Democratic leaders
Rep Ocasio-Cortez, Speaker Pelosi roll out bill to close the gender gap in salaries
Revised bill comes a decade after the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that let women sue if they are paid unequally, failed to pass previous Republican-dominated Congresses
Proposed Paycheck Fairness Act would allow workers to compare salaries, bar employers from basing current pay on salary histories
The bill will also require bosses to prove pay disparities are job-related, and provide technical training so employers can live up to the standards
Legislation not expected to get a hearing in the Senate
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it would pass in the House and would be a statement of Democratic priorities
Women’s equality activist Lilly Ledbetter speaks as U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi ([right], and other Democratic Congressional members listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol
Confirming the new face of domestic politics, Democratic leaders Wednesday rolled out legislation they hope will shows that It’s time to put teeth into laws that ensure women get paid the same as men.
American women today earn on average about 80 cents for each dollar earned by a man, despite former president Barack Obama, exactly 10 years ago, signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that let women sue if they are paid unequally, according to numerous studies.
Marking that anniversary today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Women’s equality activist Lilly Ledbetter and a cadre of Rights advocates and lawmakers unveiled a new version of a bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act that has failed to pass previous Republican-dominated Congresses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, [photo] on Wednesday joined forces with activist Lilly Ledbetter and other Civil rights advocates, as well as, lawmakers to unveil a new version of an ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act
The new bill would allow workers to compare salaries, bar employers from basing current pay on salary histories, require bosses to prove pay disparities are job-related, and provide technical training so employers can live up to the standards.
“Equal pay for equal work is an American value, and it’s time that we have American reality with that,” said Ledbetter.
The Fair Pay Act that would allow women to sue employers over pay disparities was named in her honor after the Supreme Court threw out her case because she hadn’t complained when she was first shortchanged, even though she didn’t know at the time.
When the majority Democrats in 2014, tried repeatedly to advance the Fair Pay Act in the Senate, it was blocked by Republicans including moderates such as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowsk [left], and Maine Sen. Susan Collins [right], blocked its passage
Since the 2009 law passed, though, the pay disparity has not closed much, largely because courts have set extremely high bars for proof of pay discrimination.
The new bill would help women meets those standards.
“We cannot subject another generation of women — our daughters, our granddaughters — to this injustice,” Ledbetter said Wednesday.
“We implicitly recognize as women that the pay gap and the wage gap is an injustice that persists through secrecy, and it’s an injustice that persists to the present day,” Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, [D-N.Y.], who recalled how friends of hers would circulate secret Google spreadsheets to learn about pay, said salary disclosure was key.
“We implicitly recognize as women that the pay gap and the wage gap is an injustice that persists through secrecy, and it’s an injustice that persists to the present day,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It is time that we pay people what they are worth, and not how little they are desperate enough to accept.”
When Democrats still had control of the Senate in 2014, leaders there tried repeatedly to advance the legislation, but were blocked by Republicans, including moderates such as Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Former President Barack Obama hands Lilly Ledbetter a pen after signing the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Jan 29, 2009 while Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauds. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as passed by congress 10 years ago granted equal pay to all women
Conservatives at the time argued that it would lead to excessive litigation and could be crushing for small businesses. They also argued that often the disparities in pay are because of choices women make on their own, such as leaving the workforce to raise kids, not because of discrimination.
The legislation is unlikely to get a hearing in the Senate, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it would pass in the House and would be a statement of Democratic priorities.
“It’s really important to note that this is part of a fuller agenda of paid sick leave and access to quality, affordable child care, to make women in the work place have the opportunities that we all should,’ Pelosi said.