Special to the Journal
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) took action to force an up-or-down vote by signing a discharge petition to bring up H.R. 377, the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would help close the gender pay gap by closing loopholes in and strengthening the nearly 50 year old Equal Pay Act, including providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.
“Congress must heed the voices of America’s women and bring up the critically important Paycheck Fairness Act for a vote,” said Congressman Bishop. “Equal pay is not simply a woman’s issue. It is a family issue. With families increasingly relying on women’s wages to make ends meet, we simply cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act will mark its 50th anniversary in June, women earn only $.77 for every dollar earned by men, amounting to a yearly gap of just over $11,000 between full-time working men and women, according to a report from the American Association of University Women. The $11,000 missing from women’s paychecks could purchase for a median family 89 more weeks of food or more than 3,000 additional gallons of gas or more than one year of rent.
Congressman Bishop concluded, “Frankly, it is unconscionable that in 2013 we are still debating paycheck fairness. Women have the right to be treated equally, and so there should be no delay in achieving an America where women are truly being paid what they deserve.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced on January 23, 2013, but Congress has failed to schedule a hearing or a mark-up on the bill. The bill currently has 192 cosponsors, including Congressman Bishop. A discharge petition requires the House of Representatives to consider specific legislation once a majority of Members of Congress (218) have signed the petition.