ACLU Comment on House Vote Against Equal Pay

September 14, 2017 9:45 am

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WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted 223-192 against an amendment that would have preserved federal funding to implement the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) equal pay data collection initiative, which was set to go into effect in March 2018.

Under this initiative, developed during the Obama administration, the nation’s largest employers and federal contractors would have been required to provide information about their employees’ compensation — sorted by sex, race, and ethnicity — to government civil rights enforcement agencies. The amendment was offered by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) to H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, of 2018.

American Civil Liberties Union Senior Legislative Counsel Vania Leveille had the following reaction:

“It appears that whenever this Congress has the opportunity to advance gender and racial equality, it chooses instead to say no. We are disappointed that 223 members of the House of Representatives said no to an amendment that would have preserved funding for a critical equal pay initiative that would have lifted the cloak of secrecy shrouding pay decisions in this country.

“Without transparency, the pernicious gender and race wage gaps, and the discrimination that causes them, will continue to flourish. The EEOC’s data collection would have deterred intentional pay disparities, facilitated employers’ good faith efforts to comply with equal pay laws, and identified appropriate targets for federal enforcement of nondiscrimination law.

“Although the Trump administration has halted implementation of this initiative, it also encouraged the EEOC to resubmit a different data collection package. The current appropriations bill, which denies federal funding for the initiative, may make the EEOC’s efforts more difficult. The failed DeLauro-Frankel-Scott amendment would have preserved the EEOC’s ability to take meaningful action to eliminate the gender and race pay gaps. Any claims of support for equal pay truly ring hollow in light of this vote.”

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