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tv   Democratic Senators on Equal Pay  CSPAN  April 12, 2016 8:45pm-9:29pm EDT

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today the group of democratic senators talk about the gender wage gap and legislation into producing producing disparity disparity in women and men salaries. this hour-long portion of today's senate proceedings begins with hawaii senator mazzie hirono. with c today puts while this equal pay day. equal pay day means women have to work more than four months longer to catch up to what on average men made in 2015. the significant pay disparity has been going on for decades, generations even. even though it is against the law and has been against the law since the passage of the equal
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pay act in 1963. the gender pay gap persists across all states and nearly all occupations. as we seeks to build the 21st century workforce more than 73 million working women are added disadvantage because it pay inequity and other barriers based on gender. while we have come a ways from the days of work pay discrimination such as in the 1930s when the federal government no less required women to be paid 25% last than their male counterparts, the pay gap exists, persists. it's bad enough that women with equal education and experience get paid less, gets gets worse pretty recent new york university study found that when women began to enter predominantly male occupations pay in those fields decreased overall. for example when women began to
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pursue careers in design wages dropped more than 30%. when they entered careers in biology wages dropped 18%. the study also shows that when men entered fields. as they dominated by women such as computer programming, wages increased. the bottom line is the studies show women's work is less valued than men's. this discrimination won't change because we don't like it or we hope it will. with only began to change if we take action. that's why i join senator mikulski and continuing our call to pass the paycheck fairness act. this legislation would allow women to compare their salaries would. how can a woman who find out if there is pay discrimination going on in her work face if she
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can't even find out what others are being paid? the bill would also require lawyers to prove that difference in pay for men and women doing the same work are not related to gender that while the gender pay gap affects all women i want to focus this morning on iniquity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. s.t.e.m.. nationally we need to promote s.t.e.m. to remain competitive in the global economy. s.t.e.m. careers are among the highest paid positions and are some of the most sought after by employers. to keep our country's historical leadership in s.t.e.m. over the next decade economists say we need to create a million more s.t.e.m. careers than we currently are creating. we will lose our competitive edge unless a number of women earning s.t.e.m. degrees keep pace with their growing share of the population.
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of course a reminder again women in the s.t.e.m. field earn less than men. for example on average women engineers earn just 82% of what their male counterparts earned a female dr. starting salaries are almost $20,000 less than their male counterparts even after accounting for factors like specialty and location. in addition to facing lower wages for women in s.t.e.m. often must overcome institutional barriers, cultural stereotypes and sexual harassment. these barriers permeate every level will of the s.t.e.m. career pipeline. they started sirleaf has middle school and continued throughout one's career and lead to women and minority's disproportionally giving up interest in s.t.e.m. careers. at the university of hawaii men
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earn more than five times the number of computer science bachelor's degrees as women and in the college of engineering for men earn three times as many bachelors degrees great these kinds of numbers and s.t.e.m. education are not unique to hawaii. even when women overcome the odds and pursue careers in s.t.e.m. feels they continue to face gender biases that can affect the hiring, promotion and career advancement for women in s.t.e.m.. research has found that women and s.t.e.m. encoder -- encountered by his judgment and higher ability. they also receive less faculty and kurtzman and financial rewards than identical male counterparts when negotiating salary packages. study shows and women in s.t.e.m. decide to become mothers they are perceived as less competent and less commended to hard work and offered fewer jobs and lower
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salaries. in comparison men are not penalized for being fathers. if that wasn't enough women in s.t.e.m. often experience workplace harassment. recently in "the new york times" university of hawaii biology professor hope joran shared an e-mail that was sent to a former student from the male colleague who works in the same lab at the student. this e-mail read in part quote all i know is from the first day i talk to you there hasn't been a single day or hour when you weren't on my mind. that's just the way things are and you are going to have to deal with me unless one of the sleeves. in the age of social media these kinds of totally inappropriate e-mail are all too common. according to professor john's the former students feel that she can't rely on human resources because she is heard stories from female colleagues
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about how sexual harassment happens will back all the time in their organization but no action is taken. the stories are common. again merely condemning this kind of environment is not enough. merely hoping that change will occur is not enough. we can and must do more to even the playing field for women in s.t.e.m. and that's why today i'm introducing the s.t.e.m. opportunity act to combat the systemic issues that can lead to women losing interest in s.t.e.m. and leaving s.t.e.m. careers basically in droves. the s.t.e.m. will the science agencies and institutions of higher education identified and share best practices to overcome various -- barriers that can affect inclusion of women and other represented groups. the s.t.e.m. opportunities act
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allows universities and non-profits to receive competitive grants and recognition for mentoring women and minorities in stem fields. mentoring programs such as maui economic development wartime and and technology program and the native hawaiian science and engineering mentoring program at the university of hawaii have seen tremendous success. the women in technology program supports those like deanna garcia who was first introduced to s.t.e.m. for women in technology and now as a mentor to girls who want to follow in her footsteps. this is what deanna said. poe women in technology gain the skills confidence and support i needed to because of the inner working and strong ties within the community i was not only able to find an internship at a career in i.t.. because both of the women in technology program and i can also pay it forward to current
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students to show them during career days to go to inspire them to pursue a path of s.t.e.m. just like i did. and quote. deanna story is just one of many successes that programs like women in technology have and i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record testimonials of the success of existing s.t.e.m. or grants. >> without objection. >> congresswoman eddie bernice johnson of texas who laid the groundwork for the s.t.e.m. opportunities ground -- act and my colleagues blumenthal markey cantwell shocks and marquis for supporting the sector. working together i know we can do better. no we can't ensure that women who want to pursue s.t.e.m. careers can do so in a supportive environment without fearing harassment. on equal pay day we are reminded
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of how far we have to go to achieve equality and encourage my colleagues to support the paycheck fairness act, the s.t.e.m. opportunities act and other legislation that would help close the gender gap in our workforce. i yield the floor. >> mr. president. i want to thank the senator from wife for her leadership on this issue and i will be yielding the floor to the lead sponsor of today's effort. our nation is built on the belief that anyone that works hard should have the opportunity to achieve the american dream yet there are women across this country who are doing the same job as their male colleagues and being paid less. that's why today on national equal pay day i stand before my fellow senators to renew our efforts to ensure equal pay for equal work. 50 years after the passage of the equal pay act women still earn only 79 cents on every dollar paid to a man.
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this wage gap is even worse for women of color. african-american women who work full who work full time to make only 60 cents for every dollar paid to white males. hispanic women 55 cents. women are paid less even with factors such as age, education occupation are taken into consideration. in nearly every occupation or country women's earnings are less than their male competitors. it's no different for women in my state of illinois. the medium for women and $10,000 than the median earnings for men and african-american women and when i make slightly more than the national average hispanic women are paid even less, 48 cents on the dollar. now think about that. hispanic women making less than half the earnings of their male co-workers who have similar levels of education and to do the same job. this isn't right and isn't fair. the gender wage gap translates
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into nearly $11,000 less in median earnings for women each year and 430,000 dollars in lost wages that lifetime. now that women are many times the solar primary breadwinners in four out of 10 families this means less money for food and housing and education. it's no wonder that the poverty rate for female head of household continues to be disproportionately high and this disparity follows women into their retirement since retirement savings and social security are based on income earned. in illinois the average weekly social security benefit for female retiree is 77.3% of the average for illinois e-mails per week. while female -- receive less under social security women tend to live longer and spend more on medical care forcing them to do more with less. the what would happen is would
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happen if we close this wage gap to execute 7% of women would earn more they were paid the same wages as their male counterparts and single one of working mothers would receive a pay increase. the poverty rate for women would be cut in half. it would mean fewer in poverty and fewer than a safety net programs. equal pay for equal work would mean women and their families would have more to spend on basic goods and services and that's good for our economy. so what do we have to do to close this wage gap? wicked pass the paycheck fairness act introduced by my colleague senator mikulski and my friend and colleague senator murray. employers maintained policies that punish employees that voluntarily share her salary information with their colleagues. this bill would provide women the same remedies for pay discrimination as people subjected to discrimination based on race and national origin.
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it would also close loopholes in retaliation against workers that disclose their wages. what was billed on the success of the lilly ledbetter fair pay act which clarifies 180 day statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit on pay discrimination with each effective pay check. this was signed into law by personal palm in 2003 senator mikulski, you remember that day, w. because president obama signed a bill took the first designed it and handed it to you today remember that because i sat there and thought that's entirely appropriate that a senator who has dedicated her life to this inequality for women at work would receive the first then for the first bill signed into law by this new president. my republican colleagues where do with us on this issue? do you agree that your daughter should be paid the same as your sons for doing the same work?
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here really is the basic issue and shouldn't have anything to do with party label so we invite you to join us. this shouldn't be a partisan issue at all. it's just a matter of fairness and i urge my colleagues to support this legislation and i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> the senator from maryland. >> mr. president i come to the floor today to join my colleagues in calling for equal pay for equal work. .. organizing and strategizing took flies get women trite vote. the president is up there declaring that building a national monument to commemorate the tremendous work of -- that was involved in getting suffrage. under the antiquities act that
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is his right to create that. but it's not only the building that we want to preserve. i.tit's not only the that.'s not only the but it is not only the building we want to preserve. it is not only the records of the battle for suffrage we were to preserve and be able to display. it is really what it stands for. the fact women are included fully in our society. we had to fight every day in every day to be able to advance ourselves. even when the men were here in philadelphia writing the constitution and thinking great thoughts and doing great deeds, abigail adams was back in new england running the family farm, keeping the family together and wrote john a letter saying don't forget the ladies because if you
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do we will ferment our own revolution. well in our country we call revolutions social movements where people organize and mobilize to accomplish great deeds to move democracy forward. along the way we have been advocating policies and in 1963, working with a president with a was committed to civil rights, johnson, the equal pay for equal work was passed as part of the
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great step forward in three major civil rights bills. we thought we had settled the issue but oh, no, 50 years later we have only gained 19 cents! 19 cents! and at that rate it will take us to 2058 to get equal pay for equal work. that is not the way it is going to be. that is not the way it should be and we need to make sure we eliminate the barriers and impediments that keep this happening. when we women fight for equal pay, we are sidelined, redlined, pink slipped, harassed or intimidated. it is said why are you doing this and we are often harassed for doing it. people might say senator barb,
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didn't we take care of that with the lilly ledbetter fair pay act in 2009. what that legislation did, and i am proud of what we did, was keep the court house doors open so that we kept open the statue of limitations. but now we need to pass legislation to end the loopholes that are often strangle holds on women getting equal pay in the first place. now i know i had legislation pending called the paycheck fairness act. that paycheck fairness act does three things. first of all it stops retaliation for even sharing pay information in the workplace. right now, if you ask you forbidden to tell or get fired. if you ask you are forbidden to
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tell or get fired. or if you are a wonderful man, working side by side with a woman and you want her to know that as a nurse, as a computer software engineer, what your pay is, and there is an end, she could get fired, you could get fired. this is wrong. we also want to stop employers from using any reason to pay women less. he has a better education? use the same education for the same job. we are willing to compete. we are out there, more women are in college, more women are phi beta captas. and then we heard he has to get paid more because he is the bre breadwinner. what are we? crumbs.
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very often it is women in the marketplace who are now either the soul breadwinner or the partner they love says hello we want you to get equal pay for equal work. we don't want to hear he is a breadwinner. we don't want the crumbs. we want to be paid equal pay for equal work. we also want punitive damages for women who are discriminated against. back pay alone is not a strong enough deterrent. i want my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to know that they have ideas. one of my colleagues spoke on the florida earlier today and i have such admiration for her. she is a fine senator and adegrees with -- agrees with
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the thrust of the press conference. we share the same goal but differ on means. my means, i must say are the way forward. his means are the way forward because it is solving the problem. we will sit down and talk, have conversations and see what we can do. but at the end of the day we face this issue. it cost more to be a woman. women pay more in medical cost than men. sometimes given much given the same age and health status. women pay a significant mount of money for child care. and women get charged more for dry-cleaning. we have to pay more for our bras to be cleaned than men to have their shirts washed and pressed. we are tired of being taken to the cleaners. we want equal pay for equal
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work. whether we are nurses or assi assistants or others we want to be paid and stand with the woman soccer team. give us equal pay for equal work and pass the bipartisan effort here and i think we can move the head forward. why should our women go to the olympics for the gold when they cannot get paid gold? mr. president? >> the senator from massachusetts. >> today is equal pay and you would think it is a historical anniversary remembering landmark
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day that our country guaranteed equal pay for women. but that is not what it is about. not even close because in the year 2016, at a time where we have several-driving cars and commuters on your risk women still make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. we are standing here in the united states congress debating whether a woman should get fired for asking what the guy down the hall makes for doing exactly the same job. why do we recognize april 12th at equal pay day? it took the average woman working from january 1st of last year until today to make as much as the average man made in 2015. that means she had to work an extra three and a half months in order to make what a man made last year and that means once
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again she starts the year in a hole. equal pay day isn't a national day of celebration. it is a national day of embarrassment. we hear a lot about how the economy is improving. and there is good news to point to. unemployment is under 5%, gdp continues to rise, the stock market market is up. but too many families across the country feel like the game is rigged against them. they work hard, play by the rules and still struggle to make ends meet. here is the thing. they are right. the game is rigged against working families and pay discrimination is part of that. for women, it is a one-two punch in the gut. for decades, wages have flattened out for american workers and for women the wage gap compounds that problem. if we closed both the produ
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productivity wage a gap, women's hourly wages would be 70% higher today. we have solid data but the republicans in washington refuse to act. heck, they would rather spend their time trying to defund planned parenthood and cut women's access to birth control than do anything, anything at all, to give working women a raise. so, yes, the game is rigged when women earn less than men for doing the same work. it is rigged when women can be fired for asking how much the guy down the hall makes for doing the same job. it is rigged when women have to chose between healthy pregnancies and getting their paychecks. it is rigged when women can get fired just for requesting a regular work schedule to go back to school or get a second job.
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and it is rigged when women earn less their whole lives so their social security checks are smaller and their students loans are bigger. the game is rigged against women and families and has to stop. i am standing with my colleagues today. i am standing with women and friends of women all around the country to demand equal pay for equal work. it is 2016. it is long past time to eliminate gender discrimination in the workplace. this is about economics but it is also about our values. it is about who we have as a people and what kind of a country we are trying to build for both our sons and our daughters. today we fight because we want want to recognize year after
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year in the future. thank you, mr. president, i yield. >> senator from wisconsin. >> thank you, mr. president. i come to speak out about an issue that affects families in every state across this great country. i rise to give support to the fact there is paycheck in inequality in this country. working women make up over 50% of our workforce and are working harder than every to get ahead. but far too many are barely getting by and far too many women and children are living in poverty. in wisconsin, the economy is lagging behind other states.
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household incomes are falling and communities across our state are experiencing job loss and layoffs. in fact, recent reports concluded that poverty in wisconsin has reached alarming levels. the least we can do is level the playing field and give women a fair shot at getting ahead because they deserve equal pay for equal work. so i am proud to join several of my colleagues today to deliver a call to action to pass the paycheck fairness act. i would like to share the story shannon. shannon is a single mother of three from two rivers, wisconsin. she is working hard to support her family. in order to help her family get ahead, shannon has continued her
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education to advance her career as an interpreter. but she faces the grim reality women teachers are often paid less than than male counterparts. it is not just teaching. when we look at men and women working equivalent jobs across different industries, women are making less than their male counterparts across the country. this paycheck inequality is holding women back and it is holding our entire any back. something the gender paycheck gap would give shannon and her family more financial freedom to better deal with the daily issues that worker moms face whether that is it is an unexpected car problem, or children outgrowing their clothing and shoes, whether it
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is helping to pay off student loan debt or the ability to save a little bit of their pay check to insure their kids have a chance for a higher education. worker families across america need paycheck fairness to ensure they have a fair shot at getting ahead. millions of american women get up every day to work hard for that little false dream. a good job that pays the bills, health care coverage you can rely on, a home that you can call your own, a secure retirement. but instead, gender discrimination in pay is holding women and their families back. let's pass the paycheck fairness act and strengthen families and our economy wiby providing workg women with the tools they need to close the gender pay gap.
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by taking action, we will show the american people our commitment to building an economy that works for everyone. not just those at the top. before i yield, i wanted to take a moment to thank and recognize the senior senator from maryland for her tremendous leadership on this issue. it has been an honor to serve alongside such a champion for women and families. i am looking forward to continuing this particular fight together and winning this fight together. thank you and i yield back. >> senator from maryland? >> let me thank senator baldwin. i agree and i am proud of the
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senior senator from maryland as well. this bill on paycheck fairness is the most recent example of her extraordinary leadership throughout or her on gender equity issues. the paycheck fairness act is not just about women. it is about families, economy, fairness, and american values and affects everyone in the country. we should all be personally engaged in making sure pay check fairness becomes the law. it is outrageous a woman has to work five days to know make what a man makes in four days with the same pay. that is unfair and needs to be corrected. the paycheck fairness act will do that.
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i had the privilege -- the senate relation committee i am the ranking democratic on the foreign relation committee. as the president knows, one of things we look at in america is how well other countries deal with basic rights. one of those rights is how they treat their women. one of the bramtearometers of h well a country does is if they treat women well. women do better investments than men. they invest in children, families, economic growth, whereas men are more likely to invest in war. we see more economic growth where women are treated fairly
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in other countries. it is an important value for american and we have promoted gender quality are diplomacy. for us to be affective globally we need to take care of our issues at home. the paycheck fairness would do exactly that. it would deal with the issues of fairness in the workplace in america. and we are not where we need to be. everybody talks about the fact women are not paid as much and that is true. but if you happen to be a minority it is even worse. we need it take care of this for the sake of the american economy and our values. mr. president, i introduced legislation that would allow us to pick up the equal rights amenment so we could have in the constitution no gender discrimination. this would make it easier on states and ratify to become part
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of the constitution. the way justice scalia noted there is nothing in the constitution that requires discrimination against women but there is nothing in the constitution that protects against discrimination based upon gender. we can do a better job and changes. but what we can do in this country now is pass paycheck fairness. that can get done in this congress and can be effective this year. and can be the legacy of this congress. i urge my colleagues let's do that. let's talk about gender equity issues and with paycheck fairness we can act and we can act now and make major change in american policy that will not only be fair to women but all americans and our economy. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. >> senator from new hampshire.
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>> thank you, mr. president. i am pleased to join my distinguished colleague from maryland to talk about the equal pay act and make sure we end once for all for paycheck discrimination against women. i think the american people believe very strongly in fairness, equal treatment and a level playing field for everyone. because these are core american values and i think that is why people find it shocking and unacceptable that women in the united states continue to be denied equal pay for equal work. more than half a century ago, president kennedy signed into law the equal pay act and yet today wage discrimination continues as an ugly reality across our nation. women earn only about 79 cents for every dollar men earn. and it is a disparity that exists at all levels of
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education in nearly ever industry across hundreds of occupations from the lead professionals to over day blue-coller workers. there are conquest factors that contribute to the gender pay gap but according to a study by the joint economic committee as much as 40%f this pay gap can be attributed just to outright discrimination. 40% discrimination. and i think probably most people who have watched tv in the last couple weeks have seen one particular egregious example that has been cited and that is a u.s. woman's soccer team whose members make only about one quarter of what their male counterparts make. both the women and men's soccer team work for the same employ ar, the u.s. soccer c confederation, and the woman's
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team generates more revenue, won the championship last year, been the top ranked team for over a decade, and have won four oly olympic championships but have paid a quarter of what men are. the wage gap is really damaging to the women out there, the 40% of american women, who are sole or primary breadwinners in households with children, to the women who are waitresses and certified nursing assistants, and a secretary who works at jobs where equal pay, it is not only about fairness but about providing adequately for their families. it is about being able to afford internet access so their kids can do their homework, it is
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about paying for their child's inhaler. there is a lot women breadwinners can do with that extra $10,800 women would earn on average if not for pay discrimination. i serve as the ranking member on the senate business and small entrepreneurship committee. just as women are paid 21% less than men, a recent commerce s t studa found the oddoffs women owning a business being won by a federal contract with 20% lower than for male-owned enterprises. in workplaces across america, women are speaking out more and more, who are demanding equal pay. it is time for congress to do
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our jobs as well. i know from experience that legislation can make a difference. as governor, i signed a law to prohibit gender based pay discrimination in new hampshire and require equal pay for equal work. we have not made as much progress as i would like at this point but at the time we signed that law women in new hampshire were making 69% of their male colleague's wages. today they are making 76% or a little less than the national average. back in the early '80s, i served on the status of women in new hampshire and chaired a report and women were only making 59 cents for every dollar a male earned at that time. the conclusion of that report was this has an impact not just on women but an impact on of
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course their whole family. it is something their children, their husbands, that their entire family is affected by. if we can close this pay gap for women, it helps not only the women who make up two thirds of minimum wage workers but helps families and pull the kids out of poverty. we need to do more at the federal level and that is why i strongly support the paycheck fairness act. this legislation empowers women to negotiate for equal pay and closes loopholes for laws in place and strong incentive for employers to obey these laws. this legislation is about basic fairness, equal treatment, and creating a level playing field in the workplace for our daughters, granddaughters, and every american. it is also about making sure
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their spouses, their children, their relatives, benefit from making sure they have the same access to equal pay as the men in the workplace do. so i urge my colleagues to support the paycheck fairness act. 16 years into the 20th century it is way past time to make good on our promise of equal pay for equal work in the united states. i rise today to discuss the issue of equal pay for equal work. today is national equal payday. this provides us an opportunity to talk about how we can promote policies that will make life easier and more flexible for american families. it allows us to celebrate the amazing advancements women have made. women have an incredibly positive story to tell.

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