Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) criticized 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.
"I am disappointed that Congressional Republicans continue to block legislation designed to close the wage gap between men and women," said Rep. Joe Baca. "Forty-nine years have passed since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law in 1963. And yet, in too many cases, there is still not equal pay for equal work in this country. This long overdue legislation will update the Equal Pay Act for the 21st Century, and close many of the loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay."
In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was signed, women who worked full-time, year-round made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. Today, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. That is progress -- but it is slow progress. It means that the wage gap has narrowed by less than half a cent per year. Closing the wage gap will have a positive long term impact on women's economic security
The Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens the Equal Pay Act by requiring that employers seeking to justify unequal pay bear the burden of proving that its actions are job-related and consistent with a business necessity. The bill also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers. In addition the legislation requires the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to work with employers in order to eliminate pay disparities.
"Equal pay is not just a women's issue, it's an American issue," concluded Rep. Baca. "I urge my Republican colleagues to reconsider their misguided resistance to policies that work towards pay equity. Closing the wage gap in America is essential to strengthening our core values of family, equality, and opportunity. In this great nation, everyone deserves fair treatment and the opportunity to give their children a better future."