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Pelosi: Tonight, Congress Sent a Message to Women Across the Country: 'Your Work is Valued'

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement tonight after the House passed the Paycheck Fairness Act by a vote of 247 to 178.  The bill closes loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women continue to make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

“Tonight, Congress sent a message to women across the country: ‘your work is valued.'

“This legislation makes common-sense changes to strengthen the Equal Pay Act so that it will be a more effective tool in combating gender-based pay discrimination.

“Equal pay is an issue of fundamental fairness. But, as families grapple with difficult economic times, equal pay for equal work is often about daily survival for millions of families. 

“Consider these facts: Women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.  The Institute of Women's Policy Research found that this wage disparity will cost women anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million over a lifetime in lost wages.

“Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for women has increased more rapidly than for men.  Women are more likely to have subprime mortgages and be affected by the foreclosure crisis.  Many low-wage women workers are single mothers with no other source of support for their families and closing the pay disparity could strengthen their households.

“This bill would not have passed without the tenacious leadership of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who has spent her entire career fighting to eliminate the gender-based wage gap.  She first introduced this legislation in 1997 - and has reintroduced it every Congress since.  Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller was also instrumental in bringing this bill to the floor.

“And I would also like to thank Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and many other women Members, for shining a bright light on the issue of equal pay for so many years.”