Murray asked for “unanimous consent” to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act—which passed the House of Representatives last week with bipartisan support
More than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, women on average only make 80 cents for every dollar white men make
The pay gap is even wider for women of color—African American women’s equal pay day is in August and Latinas have to work until November to make what their white male colleagues made last year
The Paycheck Fairness Act makes important updates to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, including protecting women from retaliation and allowing women to join in class action lawsuits
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, urged the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act through “unanimous consent,” which would make important updates to the Equal Pay Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced by Senator Murray and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), passed the House of Representatives with Democratic and Republican support last week.
On the Senate floor, Senator Murray urged her colleagues to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, including protecting women from retaliation for discussion salary information, allowing women to join together in class-action lawsuits, and prohibiting employers from seeking salary history. Murray’s request for unanimous consent was denied.
The Equal Pay Act was signed into law more than 50 years ago, but women, on average, still only make 80 cents for every dollar white men make. The pay gap is even wider for women of color—African American women make 61 cents, Native American women are paid 58 cents, and Latinas make 53 cents for every dollar their white male colleagues make.
Watch Senator Murray’s floor speech HERE.
Senator Murray’s floor speech, as prepared for delivery, is below:
“Thank you, M. President.
“I come to the floor today not in celebration—but in frustration—to once again mark Equal Pay Day.
“It has been 50 years since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act…
“A bipartisan law signed by President Kennedy intended to ensure equal pay for equal work.
“While this was a strong step in the right direction—the sad reality is that today the gender wage gap still very much exists.
“Today, women—on average—on make 80 cents for every dollar a white man makes.
“Meaning the average woman has to work up until today to earn what her male colleagues made in 2018.
“And for women of color—the pay gap is even worse.
“African American women working full-time only make 61 cents for every dollar white men make—meaning they have to work until August to earn what a white man made in 2018.
“Native American women only earn 58 cents for every dollar white men earn—meaning they’re going to be working until September to catch up to their white male colleagues…
“And Latinas on average are paid 53 cents for every dollar their white male colleagues make—and have to work until November, almost a full year, to earn what white men made last year.
“The wage gap also hurts mothers—who on average only make 71 cents to every dollar fathers earn.
“The gender pay gap starts when women are entering the workforce and it widens throughout their careers.
“And pay inequity will cost the typical woman more than $400,000 over the course of a forty-year career…
“And sadly—that number tops $1 million for Latina women.
“Meaning women have to work longer and still have less to save for retirement.
“M. President, the gender wage gap doesn’t just hurt women—it hurts families, communities, and our economy.
“Women are the primary or sole breadwinner in more than 40% of American families…
“Meaning families have less money to pay for groceries and child care, support businesses in their communities, and stay financially secure and independent.
“So, M. President—that is why it’s so important that we pass the Paycheck Fairness Act today.
“Not tomorrow, not next year—we must pass this now.
“Every year the wage gap grows…
“And it’s far past time we close the loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and give women the tools and protections they need to ensure they are being paid fairly.
“This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, M. President.
“The Equal Pay Act was passed with bipartisan support.
“And the Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House last week with Republican support.
“Women around the country—regardless of their skin color, where they live, or whether they’re a Republican or Democrat—deserve to be paid the same as their male colleagues doing the same work.
“So I hope my colleagues across the aisle will join us today in supporting this critical legislation.
“Our economy can only succeed if women can succeed.
“M. President, the Paycheck Fairness Act that we are asking to go today, and we have been denied the opportunity to do so makes very important updates to Equal Pay Act.
“It reaffirms that every worker in America has the right to receive equal pay for equal work.
“It protects women from retaliation for talking about salary information with co-workers…
“It allows women to join together in class-action lawsuits…
“And importantly, it prohibits employers from seeking salary history, so the cycle of pay discrimination cannot continue.
“This bill has the support of Republicans and Democrats millions of workers and women around the country.
“And I hope this Senate can reconsider and bring this important piece of legislation up.”