WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — House Democrats are celebrating the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill designed to close the gender wage gap.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., says she believes the country is ready to make equal pay for women a reality.
“It’s a new time, it really is,” DeLauro said. “Their work is undervalued, and their work is not respected.”
Her bill passed the House Thursday with overwhelming Democrat support. The bill would make it more difficult for employers to pay women less than men by requiring more data reporting and barring employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their wages with colleagues.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says the disproportionate loss of women in the workforce during the pandemic highlights the need for change.
“This is so important,” Pelosi said. “We’re hopeful that it could become the law of the land.”
But the bill faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, after passing the House with virtually zero Republican support. Republicans argue the bill does more harm than good.
“H.R.7 will force America’s businesses to prepare for an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits,” said Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa.
A small business owner herself, Miller-Meeks says the bill’s penalties could harm businesses already vulnerable because of the pandemic.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said “that’s not the way to go.”
Foxx said while Republicans want equal pay, she argues current anti-discrimination laws are working.
“I don’t know how many times Republicans have to say that.” Foxx said. “It’s already required under two federal statutes.”
Despite Republican pushback, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says he plans to bring the bill to the floor.