Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, consider the following: if the United States had an adopted policy of equal pay, it would put $200 billion more into the economy every year. That comes out to about $137 for every white woman per paycheck and to approximately $300 for every woman of color, who is doubly discriminated against. These women are not going to put their money into a Cayman Islands bank account. Instead, they'll spend it; and this will boost our economy, create jobs and help families.
With a record number of women in the workforce, wage discrimination hurts the majority of American families both in terms of their economic security today and their retirement security tomorrow. The Institute for Women's Policy Research found that wage disparity will cost women anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million over a lifetime of lost wages. That means fewer resources to pay the mortgage, to send kids to college, or to have a decent retirement. Also, due to rising employment rates, an unprecedented number of women are now the family breadwinners, making pay equity even more critical, not simply to family economic security but also to the Nation's economic recovery.
As we look for ways to create more jobs and grow the economy, it is astounding to me that Congress has not yet passed legislation ensuring equal pay for equal work. It is a powerful policy with what would be powerful and positive economic outcomes. That is why I support the Paycheck Fairness Act. It ensures that employers who try to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must show that the disparity is not sex-based, but job-related and necessary. It prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss or disclose their own salary information with their coworkers, and it strengthens the remedies available to wronged employees.
Pay inequity due to gender discrimination is real, and it should not be tolerated. The House of Representatives should address this issue.