“Today is Equal Pay Day, 94 days after the new year, and the day when women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. It is unacceptable that 53 years after passing the Equal Pay Act, women still make 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Congress must act now to make equal pay for equal work a reality and close the gender pay gap.

“For this reason, I am a proud cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen and close loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act. Every year that we do not pass this legislation, women are losing out on thousands of dollars they have rightfully earned. The wage discrepancy costs American women an average of $430,480 by the time they turn 65. For women of color, the injustice is even greater. On average across the country, Latinas earn 55 cents, and African American women earn 60 cents for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts.

“Equal pay is not just good for women. It isn’t just the moral thing to do, it is the logical thing to do for business, for families and for the economy. When women succeed, America succeeds. More families than ever before depend on women’s wages. When we close the pay gap, we will be putting money into the pockets of middle-class American families, stimulating the economy, and investing in our children’s education.

“We must continue fighting for policies that move us towards a more fair and equal society. We cannot rest until gender-based discrimination is a distant memory.”