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House passes Paycheck Fairness Act

A bill aimed at strengthening protections against wage discrimination and holding employers accountable passed the House mostly along party lines on Wednesday.

The chamber voted 242-187 for the Paycheck Fairness Act, with seven Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the bill. It was co-sponsored by 238 Democrats and GOP Rep. Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors The eight Republicans who voted to tighten background checks on guns House approves bills tightening background checks on guns MORE (N.J.).

Proponents of the legislation argue it’s a necessary step to close the wage gap. It has been introduced multiple times since 1997 to amend the Equal Pay Act and Fair Labor Standards Act, and was reintroduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroHonoré says Jan. 6 stemmed from 'propaganda' that gave people 'a little BS' American Rescue Plan: Ending child poverty — let's make it permanent Overnight Health Care: Senate confirms Levine for HHS, first openly transgender official | Progressives up pressure on Biden to back COVID vaccine patent waiver | Former Operation Warp Speed chief fired over sexual harassment allegations MORE (D-Conn.) in January.

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“After decades of failing to address persistent wage inequity, this is our opportunity to strengthen the Equal Pay Act, boast the rights of working women, lift families out of poverty, and finally align our remedies for gender discrimination with other established anti-discrimination laws,” House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDemocrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act Senators eye rollback of Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act To Build Back Better, Biden must invest in modern apprenticeship system MORE (D-Va.) said during debate.

GOP Reps. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisGOP lawmakers request briefing on Democrats' claims of 'suspicious' Capitol tours before Jan. 6 Republicans take victory lap after Iowa Democrat drops challenge Democrat Rita Hart withdraws challenge in Iowa House race MORE (Ill.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartGOP lawmakers ask Biden administration for guidance on reopening cruise industry The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors Biden grants temporary legal status to thousands of Venezuelans in US MORE (Fla.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHouse panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations Fitzpatrick replaces Tom Reed as House Problem Solvers co-chair The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors MORE (Pa.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdPence autobiography coming from Simon & Schuster Prince Harry joins Aspen Institute commission on misinformation Congress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent MORE (Texas), Tom ReedTom ReedHouse panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations Fitzpatrick replaces Tom Reed as House Problem Solvers co-chair These House lawmakers aren't seeking reelection in 2022 MORE (N.Y.), Mike SimpsonMIchael (Mike) Keith SimpsonHouse passes bills providing citizenship path for Dreamers, farmworkers Marjorie Taylor Greene's delay tactics frustrate GOP During a time of uncertainty, Great American Outdoors Act deserves our support MORE (Idaho) and Smith joined Democrats in voting for the measure on Wednesday.

The bill includes provisions that would bar employers from inquiring about prospective employees’ salaries, prohibit retaliation against employees who compare wages and require employers to demonstrate that pay discrepancies are based on legitimate factors. The legislation would also push to eliminate "barriers" that would make it more difficult for employees to file a class-action lawsuit over pay discrimination and would create a program providing training on negotiation for females.

Critics of the bill argue it fails to strengthen equal work for equal pay and could potentially lead to an influx of unnecessary lawsuits.

"Everyone in this House is in agreement that pay discrimination on the basis of sex is wrong. No matter how you look at it, the law is very clear about this. But this bill doesn't do anything to help working women. This is a bill for trial lawyers, plain and simple," House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxRepublicans argue school accountability waivers overstep Education secretary authority House passes bill aimed at strengthening unions Republicans call for investigation into impact of school closures on children with disabilities MORE (R-N.C.), said on the floor ahead of the vote.

"And that's what shows a fundamental difference in outlook and principle. Democrats want women to sue their bosses, Republicans want women to become the bosses.”

GOP Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikAmbitious House lawmakers look for promotions Republicans urge Garland to probe COVID-19 deaths in New York group homes Parliamentarian strikes down Pelosi priority in aid package MORE (N.Y.) is leading the efforts on an alternative bill, the WAGE Equity Act, aimed at eliminating gender pay discrepancies, Politico first reported.

The Democratic-backed bill is unlikely to see movement in the GOP-controlled Senate.