June 08, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today voted to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 in order to help eliminate the gender wage gap, and guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable. Despite Senator King’s vote, the motion to file cloture on the legislation failed to by a vote of 49 to 50. In response to today’s failed vote, Senator King – a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act – released the following statement:
“This boils down to equal pay for the same day’s hard work. It’s just commonsense that gender should not be taken into account when setting a job’s pay grade – but in 2021, the sad fact is that pay disparities continue to hold American women back,” said Senator King. “It’s far past time to guarantee fair and equal pay to all workers, regardless of gender. I’m disappointed that this commonsense legislation could not muster the necessary votes to proceed, and will continue pushing for my colleagues to reconsider so we can enact the Paycheck Fairness Act into law.”
More than five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women on average still make only 82 cents for every dollar earned by men; the gap is even wider for women of color. Compared to white men, African American women are paid 63 cents and Latina women are paid 55 cents. This means that under the same circumstances, a woman working full time year-round would earn $400,000 less than a man over the duration of her career. The wage gap shortchanges women’s ability to save for retirement and reduces their total Social Security and pension benefits, contributing to more older women living in poverty. The Paycheck Fairness Act would seek to confront these systemic challenges by ending the practice of pay secrecy and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees.
Pay inequity not only affects women – it affects children and families and our economy as a whole. That is because women in this country are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of families with children. Over the past two decades, women make a growing share of the family income in all family types.