WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, help eliminate the gender wage gap, and guarantee women have the right to challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable.

“Nearly sixty years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women in America still face profound pay disparity and injustice in the workplace. Full-time working women are paid an average of 82 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same work, and for women of color, the disparity is even worse. We must work to ensure women are paid equal wages for equal work.

“Decades of underinvestment and loopholes in policy have led to the failure to properly support women, especially Black, Latina, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander women. The pandemic and recession have only magnified the disproportionate impacts on women and women of color, and now essential workers, those who have lost jobs, caregivers, and more have been bearing the brunt of it. We must close the pay gap to support women, build back the economy, and invest in our children and their future.

“Closing the pay gap is more important than ever, particularly during the pandemic and economic crisis which have worsened economic disparities. By modernizing and strengthening the Equal Pay Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act brings the country one step closer to fixing the existing inequities in our economy and workforce. The bill also enforces accountability for employers and provides effective remedies for workers who are not being paid equal pay for equal work. The Paycheck Fairness Act is crucial to help secure economic justice for women and advance progress for families and women in the workforce.”