Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee condemned Republicans for continuing to stand in the way of progress for America's women and their families. Today, Senate Republicans voted to block the critical Paycheck Fairness Act from even receiving the simple vote it deserves. Similarly, last week, House Republicans voted unanimously against bringing the Paycheck Fairness Act to the House Floor.
"Women still only earn 77 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by men," stated Rep. Lee. "Equal pay is not simply a women's issue -- it's a family issue. In more than 50 percent of American households, women's salaries help pay the bills. When women bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families -- groceries, rent, child care, visits to the doctor."
Achieving equal pay for women has been one of the top priorities of Democrats. In January 2009, the Democratic-led 111th Congress sent to the President's desk the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- and it became the first bill signed into law by President Obama. This Act restores the right of women to challenge unfair pay in court -- but virtually all House Republicans rejected this critical measure for women.
"Although the Lilly Ledbetter Act has been enacted, we need to do more," Rep. Lee said. "I will continue to fight for the enactment of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide a much-needed update to the 49-year-old Equal Pay Act by providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work. The Paycheck Fairness Act would ensure women start receiving the same legal remedies and protections against pay discrimination currently provided to protect against pay discrimination based on race and ethnicity."
"In order to strengthen the American family and ensure fairness in American life, despite the setback today, I vow I will continue to fight until we have achieved an America where women are truly paid equal pay for equal work," concluded Rep. Lee. "It is unacceptable that women continue to be discriminated against in the workforce. We need equal pay and we need it now."