Democrats Rail Against ‘Pay Gap’ During Equal Pay Day Press Conference

During a March 10 press conference about the upcoming “Equal Pay Day,” Democrats railed against the alleged disparity between men’s and women’s wages.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) led the press conference flanked by current and former female congressional leaders including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The lawmakers used the press conference to push disputed claims about discrepancies in pay between men and women for the same work and called for the passage of their party’s “Paycheck Fairness Act.”

In his opening remarks, Jeffries said that a pay disparity has existed between men and women in the United States “for far too long.”

Jeffries added that it was “unfair,” “unconscionable,” and “un-American … that women in America are paid approximately 73 cents for every dollar that a man makes for doing the same exact job.”

Pelosi followed Jeffries, commenting, “I think in the future people will look back and say, ‘What are you telling me? There was a time when women didn’t have the right to vote? There was a time when women’s work was not respected? This is awful.’”

“It’d be shameful,” Pelosi added. “But we have to do something about it now.”

The comments marked a rare public appearance for the former speaker, who has largely stepped out of the limelight since giving up the top Democrat position.

Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly Press Conference Before House Votes On Impeachment
Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly Press Conference Before House Votes On Impeachment
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi delivers remarks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 31, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Today we’re going to talk about something that quite frankly, we are so tired of talking about year after year,” Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said at the top of the press conference. “And that is that is Equal Pay Day.”

Equal Pay Day is observed on March 14, the day when, its supporters say, women achieve the same pay as their male counterparts for the previous year. In other words, it is the day when average female earnings catch up to average male earnings for the previous year.

“In other words, this year, women had to work an additional 64 days just to earn what a man earned last year,” Frankel said.

‘Paycheck Fairness Act’

Democrats used the press conference to push for the consideration and passage of the “Paycheck Fairness Act.”

That bill, originally proposed by Democrats in the 1990s, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to make it a crime for employers to retaliate against employees who seek or receive information from their peers about pay. It also would hold employers liable to explain why one employee makes less than another, and allow workers to sue for alleged wage discrimination on the basis of sex.

Specifically, the bill “punishes employers for retaliating against workers who share wage information, puts the justification burden on employers as to why someone is paid less and allows workers to sue for punitive damages of wage discrimination.”

House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) took the podium after Frankel, using the opportunity to push for the passage of the legislation in a GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
House Assistant Speaker Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) speaks during a rally in Washington on Nov. 16, 2021. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for SEIU)

“Our daughters deserve … a future grounded in freedom and equality,” Clark said. “And let’s be clear we have a long way to go.”

Under existing U.S. law, it is a federal crime for employers to discriminate against women for earnings purposes on the basis of sex.

The Equal Pay Act, signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, reads: “No employer … shall discriminate … between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs.”

In other words, it is already a federal offense for employers to pay women less than their male counterparts.

However, the 1963 bill contains key exceptions: employers are permitted to pay men more than women under an objectively defined and delineated system of seniority, merit, productive capacity, or any other metric not based on biological sex.

“It’s time to send the Paycheck Fairness Act to President [Joe] Biden’s desk,” Clark concluded her remarks.

Criticism of ‘Wage Gap’ Claims

Democrats have long claimed that women make less on average than men, a claim that critics of the position say is true but lacks crucial context.

According to a 2022 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women earned between 10 and 20 percent less on average than their male counterparts in the second quarter of 2022 (pdf).

“The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity,” the BLS report says. “White women earned 83.0 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with 90.0 percent for Black women, 81.5 percent for Asian women, and 86.5 percent for Hispanic women.”

Critics of the alleged pay gap have argued that those who push the claim leave out key facts about why the gap exists.

For example, men are far more likely on average to take some of the world’s most dangerous jobs, ranging from high-rise construction to deep-sea oil refining. Because of the inherent risks these kinds of careers entail, they often pay remarkably well compared to other jobs requiring non-college-based skills and training.

Women also tend to take more time off of work for parental leave than their male counterparts, meaning that men accrue more experience in the field on average than their female counterparts over time.

Critics say that when these and other factors are taken into account, women with the same education, training, and experience actually make the same as their male counterparts.

Still, the issue of disparities between men’s and women’s pay remains one of the most hotly disputed modern social issues.

Passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was first introduced in 1997, would require the acquiescence of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who as speaker has near unilateral authority over what comes to the floor.

The House has passed the bill on several occasions; however, it has consistently failed to make headway in the Senate, where Republicans have more tools to stop legislation.

Given the persistent failure of the bill to pass in the past, it seems unlikely that Democrats will be able to move ahead on the contested issue during this Congress.

Original News Source Link

Running For Office? Conservative Campaign Consulting – Monthly Rates!