"Equal pay is not simply a women's issue -- it is an American issue.
"In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, stating, "It is a first step. It affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force they will find equality in their pay envelopes." Forty eight years later, I am deeply saddened that the wage gap President Kennedy spoke of so long ago remains open today. And it is in protest of this wage gap that every April we mark Equal Pay Day -- the month in which the wages paid to American women "catch up" to the wages paid to men from the previous year.
"Equal pay is not simply a women's issue -- it is an American issue. The wage gap hurts every person in every nook and cranny of our nation -- husbands, wives, children, and parents -- because it lowers family incomes. It lowers the ability of American families to pay for necessities like groceries and medicine, and raises the number of difficult choices they must make -- do I put food on the table tonight or take my daughter to the doctor tomorrow? Choices like these should not have to be made in America. When women earn more, families earn more.
"I am proud that achieving equal pay for women is one of our top priorities in the last congress and commend the progress achieved in the first years of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, of which I was a proud cosponsor. The law, which restores employees' rights to challenge pay discrimination, is an important part of our pledge to fight for middle-class families and rebuild our economy in a way that gives every American the chance to succeed. I am also a proud cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require employers to show that any wage disparities between genders are for job-related reasons, and not sex-based.
"A recent White House report found that women still only earn about 75 cents, on average, for every dollar their male counterparts earn. This is unacceptable and we must work together to correct it. And, as women continue to break barriers, we must make this stubborn wage gap a priority.
"It is long overdue that we stop gender-based pay discrimination in its tracks. As the Representative of Florida's 20th Congressional District, my constituents can rest assured that I will continue my fight to ensure that the gender-based wage gap in this country is sealed shut once and for all. Together, we can and we must do better -- not only for our mothers, daughters, granddaughters, and sisters, but for the greatness of America."