President Barack Obama is introduced to speak by Lilly Ledbetter at an event aimed at increasing transparency about women’s pay during an event at the White House. The first law President Obama signed after taking office in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended time periods for employees to file claims for wages lost as a result of discrimination.
President Barack Obama signs executive actions, with pending Senate legislation, aimed at closing a compensation gender gap that favors men, during an event marking Equal Pay Day. President Obama announced new executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women.
Keeping with his promise to champion women’s rights in the workplace, President Barack Obama signed an executive order Tuesday that addresses the issue of unequal pay among federal contractors.The executive order addresses the federal government’s gender wage gap by mandating that contractors publish wage data — by gender and race — to ensure compliance with equal-pay laws. The order also prohibits contractors from retaliating against employees who compare salaries. Tuesday’s signing coincides with National Equal Pay Day, serving as a reminder that more than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was made law, women still earn less then men. On average, women earn only about 77 cents on the dollar compared with men. African-American women and Latinas take home even less, just 64 cents and 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by white men, according to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Obama called the numbers “embarrassing,” and “wrong.”
“It is good to move the ball forward on improving our equal pay policies,” Fatima Graves, NWLC vice president for education and employment, told Al Jazeera. “It’s important because right now workers are left in the dark about wage disparity information.” “What we really need is for Congress to pass the Fair Paycheck Act which would get at all workers,” she said. A Senate vote on that act, slated for Tuesday, would extend the order’s requirements to most other employers. However, the bill has already failed to pass twice, despite evidence that pay transparency can reduce the gender wage gap. In the federal government, for example, where pay rates are publicly available, the gender wage gap is much smaller than in the private sector, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.The Fair Paycheck Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963
1:40: President Obama delivers remarks calling on Congress to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1
NYT Editorial: The political feud between the White House and Congressional Republicans has now culminated in a House oversight committee vote to cite Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for criminal contempt. His supposed crime is failing to hand over some documents in an investigation of a botched gunrunning sting operation known as “Fast and Furious.”
The Republicans shamelessly turned what should be a routine matter into a pointless constitutional confrontation. And the White House responded as most administrations do at some point: it invoked executive privilege to make a political problem go away.
…. Mr. Issa has relished making this investigation a political fight….There was no reason the House committee and the Justice Department could not work out a deal to produce the documents requested, or some form of them. Instead, they show again that every issue, large or small, can be turned into ammunition for political combat.
TPM: Mitt Romney’s campaign asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to downplay his state’s job growth after several press releases from the governor’s campaign and messages from the Florida Chamber of Commerce trumpeted gains for the month of May, according to Bloomberg News.
Florida’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.7 percent in April to 8.6 percent in May, though still significantly above the national rate of 8.2 percent.
A Romney adviser reportedly requested that Scott’s office say that Florida’s unemployment rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency….
The development is perhaps one of the clearest examples of the messaging predicament the Romney campaign finds itself in …. when you ask Republican governors how things are going, especially in swing states, the economic picture starts to brighten considerably…
I’m writing to ask you to stand up to your fellow Republicans, show you’re worthy of the leadership you’re asking the American people to entrust you with, and let us know where you stand on legislation that will help finally make pay equity a reality.
I’m writing you directly because so far, your leadership has been so lacking that it appears those closest to you don’t know where you stand, either.
In April, your advisers were asked whether you support the law that bears my name and empowers women to fight back when we’re cheated out of equal pay. They responded with silence.
In May, the Washington Times asked your campaign five times whether you support the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that goes further to ensure equal pay for equal work. Again, silence.
Now, in June, as Washington Republicans continue to oppose this common-sense law, you continue to hide.
Your campaign will say only that you support the concept of pay equity, but that you wouldn’t change any laws to actually enforce it. That’s like saying you’re for staying dry but wouldn’t use an umbrella in a rainstorm. Women are getting soaked, Governor Romney, and staying silent when a solution is at hand isn’t leadership—it’s an insult and a cop-out.
If the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was a step in the right direction, the Paycheck Fairness Act is a giant leap forward. The first gave us recourse to sue no matter when we learn that we’ve been paid unfairly—a right we often didn’t have until President Obama made it the first bill he signed. The second will make it easier for women to learn if they’re being discriminated against in the first place. It gives businesses incentives to do what’s right and protects workers from being fired for sharing information about their pay. It closes loopholes and makes discrimination harder to hide, which makes it harder to commit.
You talk often about your unique understanding of the economy. I’m troubled, though, that you don’t seem to understand the consequences of pay inequality. It’s not just about a paycheck and it’s not just a women’s issue—it’s a family issue. Women make just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, which adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost earnings over years of hard work. More women are becoming breadwinners in their families, and unjustly lower wages mean we have less to spend in our communities to support the economy. The overtime pay, Social Security, and pensions we earn are based on our wages, so unfair pay today hurts us now and weakens our retirement security later. I learned that lesson the hard way.
It’s 2012. Women are not worth less than men, and no one should get paid less for doing the same job just because she is a woman.
Will you stand up for women, stand up to your fellow Republicans and stand on the right side of history? Will you finally say aloud that you support efforts to stop pay discrimination before it starts? We’re listening.