Senate

GOP blocks resolution supporting equal pay for female soccer players

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Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a resolution supporting equal pay for female soccer players, suggesting the Senate’s schedule was too packed to take it up. 
 
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked for unanimous consent to pass a nonbinding resolution calling on the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to “immediately eliminate gender pay inequity.” 
 
{mosads}Democrats have rallied around the issue after a U.S. win in the Women’s World Cup, when they received a $2 million award compared to the $35 million Germany received after winning the 2014 Men’s World Cup. President Obama, on Tuesday, hosted the women’s national soccer team at the White House. 
 
Leahy added Thursday that while he’s heard opponents argue that ‘oh, no, we must pay men more than women. Point to revenue as the reason behind this disparity.’ [But] revenue can’t be accepted as a means for discrimination. Awards should not be determined by gender.” 
 
But his request was objected to by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who suggested that the Senate is facing a packed schedule with issues that must be addressed. 
 
“We have a budget to pass. We have a debt crisis to fix. We have an education system that needs reform. We have a humanitarian crisis in Europe that we ought to address,” he said from the Senate floor. “That’s what the United States Senate ought to be spending its time on rather than offering opinions and resolutions about a private international entity and how they should award prizes and awards.”
 
The Tennessee Republican, who chairs the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, added that “gender discrimination is wrong, all of us know that.”
 
But Leahy suggested it would take only a short amount of time to pass the resolution by unanimous consent, which requires the agreement of every senator. 
 
“We could take 30 or 50 or 82 seconds out of the 100 hours or so we’ll spend during the month just sitting here doing nothing and pass a resolution that calls for the equal treatment of male and female athletes,” he said. “If we can’t even pass a nonbonding resolution, how do we ever achieve real pay equity for women? … It sends a terrible message to mothers and daughters, granddaughters around the globe.” 
Tags Lamar Alexander Patrick Leahy

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