As we mark Equal Pay Day today, Congressman John Garamendi (Fairfield, CA) said that more needs to be done to end the wage gap that still exists between men and women -- including enactment of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Equal Pay Day symbolizes when, more than three months into the year, women's wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year.
"Pay discrimination is unjust. It tears at our families and our communities," said Congressman Garamendi. "According to a new report from the American Association of University Women, in California, women still earn only 85 cents for every dollar earned by men. Nationwide, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act will mark its 50th anniversary in June."
Garamendi added, "Families increasingly rely on women's wages to make ends meet. When women bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families, including groceries, rent, and doctors' visits. I have cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which adds teeth to the Equal Pay Act and brings us one major step closer to an America where women earn equal pay for equal work."
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, a great victory for women, restores the right of women to challenge unfair pay in court -- but virtually all House Republicans opposed this critical measure for women.
Democrats have worked to enact the Paycheck Fairness Act for years. In 2008 and again in 2009, the Democratic-led House succeeded in passing the bill, but in both Congresses, Senate Republicans blocked the measure. Similarly, in 2012, Republicans in both the House and Senate voted to block the bill. In 2013, it's time for Republicans to finally stand up for America's women and help pass the critical Paycheck Fairness Act.