Chairman Scott Urges Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and help end gender-based wage discrimination.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act.

“When President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, our country codified the basic idea that all workers should earn ‘equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.’  Regrettably, more than five decades later—and after the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Act Pay—that promise remains unfulfilled. 

“Today, women continue to be paid, on average, 82 cents on the dollar compared to men.  This wage disparity is far worse for women of color, who make less than white men and white women.  And it exists across every sector, regardless of education, experience, occupation, industry, or job title.  A recent Census Bureau study found that 38 to 70 percent of the gender wage gap is unexplained and likely due to discrimination.

“Drawn out over a lifetime, the persistent wage gap could cost a woman anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million dollars.  This impacts both workers and their families, often meaning the difference between financial stability and perpetual hardship. 

“The Paycheck Fairness Act offers an opportunity to finally secure equal pay for equal work.  The bill strengthens the Equal Pay Act by bolstering workers’ right to discuss their wages with co-workers and making it easier for workers to join class action lawsuits; enhancing the enforcement tools available to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Labor Department; and, most importantly, by closing loopholes for employer defenses and requiring employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons. 

“The Biden Administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy in support of this bill.  It states that ‘ensuring equal pay is essential to advancing American values of fairness and equity’ and adds ‘the Paycheck Fairness Act is commonsense legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and give workers more tools to fight sex-based pay discrimination.’

“I ask unanimous consent to enter the Statement of Administration Policy for H.R. 7 into the record.

“I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for this legislation and I reserve the balance of my time.”


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