Rep. Engel: Fair Pay Act A Start -- But More To Do

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) marked the fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which champions equal pay for women, by calling for swift passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act – legislation he co-sponsored – to end the wage gap between men and women doing the same job.

“According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average woman working full time, year-round was paid just 77 percent of what the average man earned—an unacceptable gap of 23 percent.  In New York, men earned on average $50,388 in 2012, compared to just $42,113 for women.  Equal pay is not simply a woman’s issue – it’s a family issue. Families increasingly rely on women’s wages to make ends meet.  When women bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families – groceries, rent, child care, doctors’ visits,” said Congressman Engel.

In January 2009, the Democratic-led 111th Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – and it became the first bill signed into law by President Obama.  It restores the right of women to challenge unfair pay in court – but virtually all House Republicans opposed this critical measure for women. 

“Although the Lilly Ledbetter Act has been enacted, there is still a need to do more,” added Congressman Engel.  “The Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens and closes loopholes in the nearly 50-year-old Equal Pay Act, including providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing the same work.  This should be a bipartisan issue – it affects both Democratic and Republican women – and I am disappointed by the lack of support on the other side of the aisle.”

“The Paycheck Fairness Act is authored by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and I am proud to be a co-sponsor.  In 2012, Republicans in both the House and Senate voted to block the bill.   We must work together to strengthen the American family and ensure fairness in the workplace.  The fact that it is 2014 and we are still dealing with this issue is embarrassing,” said Congressman Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.