Congresswoman Laura Richardson criticized Senate Republicans for standing in the way of basic fairness for working women. Today, Senate Republicans voted to prevent a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. This action comes on the heels of a refusal last week by the House Republicans to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor.
"Women who work full-time earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, even 39 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963," said Congresswoman Laura Richardson. "This gap exists even when education, industry, and hours are taken into account; therefore, it is clear that we need to give women the tools necessary to fight this persistent inequality," said Congresswoman Richardson.
The Paycheck Fairness Act closes numerous loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, and it increases penalties for employers who discriminate on the basis of gender so that they are the same as penalties for discrimination based on race or ethnicity. The bill also offers protection for employees who share their salary information and creates incentives for negotiations skills training programs for women and girls.
"This legislation is a serious issue not just for women but for American families," said Congresswoman Richardson. "In more than 50 percent of American households, women's salaries are needed to help pay the bills. When women earn less, they have less to provide for the basic needs of their families, such as groceries, rent, and child care. It also affects women's cumulative lifetime earnings, meaning that they have fewer savings for retirement," explained Congresswoman Richardson.
Democrats have promoted equal pay for women as a top priority in the 111th and 112th Congresses. The first bill signed into law by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored the right of women to challenge unfair pay in court--although many Republicans voted against this measure.
"I am saddened to see Republicans continue this pattern of blocking legislation critical to women in the workforce," said Congresswoman Richardson. "Despite this setback today, I will continue to fight against pay discrimination until we have truly achieved fairness in American life," said Congresswoman Richardson.