Nine Out of 10 Americans – Including 81 Percent of Men and 77 Percent of Republicans – Support Pay Equity Legislation Senate Republicans Oppose
June 5, 2012
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the Paycheck Fairness Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Most Americans believe if they get an education, work hard and play by the rules, they’ll have a fair shot at success.
But for millions of American women, no amount of talent or dedication will bring pay equality with their male coworkers.
Women take home 77 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn for doing exactly the same work.
That stunning fact holds true regardless of whether a woman has a college degree, regardless of how many hours she spends at the office or factory each week and regardless of what job she holds.
If she is an African American or Hispanic woman, the disparity is even starker.
African American women make 62 cents on the dollar and Hispanic women 54 cents on the dollar compared to white men working the same hours in the same jobs.
And while landmark pieces of legislation like the Equal Pay Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act have narrowed the pay gap, they haven’t closed that gap.
So Congress must do more. The Paycheck Fairness Act before the Senate would:
• Give workers stronger tools to combat wage discrimination,
• Bar retaliation against workers for discussing salary information,
• And help secure adequate compensation for victims of gender-based pay discrimination.
Over their lifetimes, Nevada women will earn about $475,000 less than their male counterparts.
But this isn’t just a women’s issue – it’s a family issue.
Every year, millions of American families are cheated out of money they could spend on groceries, gas and rent.
And every year, wage discrimination puts almost 400,000 Nevada children at risk.
For many families in Nevada and across the country, a woman’s income is the only income. For many more families, a woman is the primary breadwinner.
Yet Republicans have vowed to block legislation that would even the playing field and help women provide for their families – even though Americans overwhelmingly support it.
Nine out of 10 Americans – including 81 percent of men and 77 percent of Republicans – support pay equity legislation.
Once again, the only Republicans who are against our common-sense measure are the ones here in Washington.
Even Mitt Romney has refused to publicly oppose this legislation.
He should show some leadership, and tell his fellow Republicans that opposing fair pay for all Americans is shameful.
Instead, no one knows where he stands.
But we know where Democrats stand.
We stand firmly on the side of equality for every working woman.
Democrats stand with middle-class women working to keep their families afloat during difficult economic times.
We stand with young women pursuing a college education, hoping to get a good-paying job when they graduate.
We stand with little girls whose mothers have taught them there’s no limit to their dreams.
This evening, America will see where Republican Senators stand, as well.
It’s unfortunate they’ll once again favor obstructionism over equality.