“The Senate voted today to move one step closer to a fulsome discussion of the Paycheck Fairness Act by voting on the first of two procedural measures that would allow full debate of and a vote on the bill. This advance is an encouraging and long overdue step for America’s women and families. We applaud the 73 senators who voted to move this common sense bill toward getting the time and attention it deserves.
This the first time the Paycheck Fairness Act has advanced this far in the Senate. There are still several hurdles before an up-or-down vote, but today’s progress is a sure sign that the needs and voices of women and families who have long supported this measure – across party and demographic lines – are finally being considered. We hope it also means that lawmakers are ready to combat pay discrimination by debating and ultimately voting for it.
But steps toward discussing this bill are simply not enough; women, families and the country urgently need real action to close the wage gap and promote fair pay. Today, women who are employed full time, year round in the United States still suffer the effects of a gender-based wage gap of, on average, more than $11,600 annually. For women of color, it is much worse. The Paycheck Fairness Act would help to root out the discrimination that contributes to this punishing gap.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers for discussing their wages, recognize employers with good pay practices, and provide assistance to small businesses that need help adopting such practices. It would also create a negotiation skills training program for women and girls and enhance the ability of federal agencies to investigate and enforce pay discrimination laws.
As this measure is discussed in the Senate and across the country in the coming days, we hope all lawmakers will consider the harm the wage gap is causing women and families in their states and districts and commit to voting for the Paycheck Fairness Act. We will be watching closely to see whether members of the Senate and House can work together, overcome procedural maneuvering and pass this badly needed bill.”