FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
House Majority Turns Its Back on Women and Families by Blocking Vote on Paycheck Fairness Act, Which Would Advance Fair Wages
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — May 31, 2012 — "It is shameful that the House of Representatives today rejected an effort to bring to a vote the Paycheck Fairness Act. This badly needed, common sense legislation would promote fair wages and help reduce the persistent and punitive wage gap that harms millions of women and families in this country as well as our economy.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963; prohibit retaliation against workers for discussing their salaries; recognize employers with good pay practices; and provide assistance to small businesses that need help adopting such practices. It would create a negotiation skills training program for women and girls and enhance federal agencies’ investigative and enforcement abilities. These are modest, reasonable steps to address the wage gap, and ones we badly need. That was underscored at a House equal pay hearing yesterday when witness Terri Kelly said: ‘only my husband’s paycheck tipped me off to pay discrimination.’
At this time when America’s women are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, resulting in more than $10,000 in lost income each year, the nation badly needs Congress to pass this bill. Nearly 15 million households in this country are headed by women, nearly 30 percent of them live in poverty, and women are now the primary or co-breadwinners for two-thirds of families. Women’s work is essential, and families suffer when women are not treated fairly in the workforce. The Paycheck Fairness Act would address discrimination. It’s a law the nation needs.
The House has passed the Paycheck Fairness Act in the past, and the Senate is scheduled to consider it next week. Today was an opportunity to advance this legislation, but a majority in the House bowed to special interests and refused even to bring it up for a vote. Those who wonder why some say there is a ‘war on women’ in Congress need only look to today’s actions in the House. It was a disgrace."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.