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Murray speaks on Senate floor in support of paycheck fairness amendment to FY2016 Budget

Murray: “Pay discrimination isn’t just unfair to women. It’s bad for families. And it is a real and persistent problem that hurts our economy.” 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks on the Senate floor in support the paycheck fairness amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget offered by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). Murray highlighted that pay discrimination hurts women, their families, and the economy, and she noted that the amendment would support the basic principle of fairness in the workplace by building on the Equal Pay Act to help close the pay gap between men and women.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“I believe that real, long-term economic growth is built from the middle out, not the top down. And our government and economy should be working for all families, not just the wealthiest few. We in Congress need to be focused on raising wages, expanding economic security, and making sure workers have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That’s exactly what this amendment would do. It would build on the promise of the Equal Pay Act to help close the pay gap between men and women.”

“This amendment would help move us toward an economy where women get a fair shot at pay equity in the workplace. And it would set us up to tackle pay discrimination head-on… Pay discrimination isn’t just unfair to women. It’s bad for families. And it is a real and persistent problem that hurts our economy.” 

“I hope we can all agree that in the 21st century, workers should be paid fairly for the work they do, regardless of their gender. And I hope we can agree that we need to expand economic security for more families.  That should be our mission to move our country forward. This amendment supports the basic principle of fairness in the workplace. And it would help women, families, and our nation’s economy.”

“…I hope Republicans will join Democrats on real solutions, and work with us to create jobs, increase wages, and expand economic security that benefits all workers and families, not just the wealthiest few.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Thank you, M. President.

“I believe that real, long-term economic growth is built from the middle out, not the top down. And our government and economy should be working for all families, not just the wealthiest few.

“We in Congress need to be focused on raising wages, expanding economic security, and making sure workers have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That’s exactly what this amendment would do. It would build on the promise of the Equal Pay Act to help close the pay gap between men and women.

“Today, M. President, nearly half of our workforce isn’t earning equal pay for equal work. In fact, women across the country get paid just 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. That’s not just unfair to women. It also hurts families and our economy. And we need to fix it.

“Last year, at a hearing in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, we heard from a woman named Kerri. For five years, Kerri worked for an auto supplier as a supervisor.

“She liked her job and she did it well. Her boss gave her glowing performance reviews for her work. But when the auto industry ran into trouble, her company had to file for bankruptcy.

“It was through bankruptcy court reports that Kerri found out she was making significantly less than some of the men she had supervised. After all those years of hard work, she found out her employer valued her work less just because she was a woman.

“She said she was heartbroken and embarrassed.  But more than that, she told the Committee last year that those years of lost wages will affect her family for the rest of her life. M. President, Kerri isn’t alone. 

“Across the country, pay discrimination hurts women and families’ ability to make ends meet and get ahead in the workplace. 

“I want to thank the senior Senator from Maryland for her extraordinary leadership in the fight for equal pay, and for bringing this amendment forward today.

“This amendment would help move us toward an economy where women get a fair shot at pay equity in the workplace. And it would set us up to tackle pay discrimination head-on. 

“M. President, pay discrimination isn’t just unfair to women. It’s bad for families. And it is a real and persistent problem that hurts our economy. 

“It’s important to remember that women’s role in our economy has shifted dramatically in the last few decades. Women now make up nearly half of our workforce. Today, 60 percent of families rely on earnings from both parents – up from 37 percent in 1975. And more than ever, women are likely to be the primary breadwinners in their families. 

”We need to make sure working women can succeed in today’s economy, because their success is critical to families’ economy security and to our nation’s economy as a whole. 

“According to a recent report, closing the pay gap between men and women would add $446 billion to the economy.

“M. President, I hope we can all agree that in the 21st century, workers should be paid fairly for the work they do, regardless of their gender. And I hope we can agree that we need to expand economic security for more families.

“That should be our mission to move our country forward. This amendment supports the basic principle of fairness in the workplace. And it would help women, families, and our nation’s economy. 

“And M. President, I just want to make clear – I’m urging my colleagues to vote for the Mikulski amendment— the only proposal on the table right now that would move use toward a real solution to this problem. Senator Mikulski has been our leader on this issue.

“And I hope Republicans will join Democrats on real solutions, and work with us to create jobs, increase wages, and expand economic security that benefits all workers and families, not just the wealthiest few.” 

“Thank you.”