Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Republicans’ Radical Opposition To Legislation To Provide Equal Pay For Women In America

June 8, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to take up legislation to close the wage gap and ensure equal pay for women. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This week, the Senate will vote on whether to take up legislation that would help provide equal pay for women in America. We have been talking about the wage gap for years now, with no action taken by this Senate. Women with the same jobs, the same degrees – sometimes even better degrees than their male colleagues – are making less money. For women of color, the gap between them and their male counterparts is even wider.

This is a fundamental issue of fairness. And we have very simple, commonsense legislative proposal to address the issue.

But yesterday, the Republican Leader said Democrats’ attempt to bring this issue up for debate was “transparently designed to fail.” He went on to say that issues like gun safety and pay equity were merely “demands of [our] radical base.”

Look, the only way that a bill to provide equal pay for women is “designed to fail” is if Senate Republicans design to block it. And if the Republican Leader wants to talk about “radical” positions, I’d say that opposing legislation to provide equal pay for women—supported by a solid majority of voters—is a radical position. Does he believe that?

You know what’s radical? Opposing legislation to expand background checks to prevent felons and the mentally ill from getting a gun. More than ninety percent—ninety percent—of Americans support that policy. But Republicans have, in the past, opposed it. That’s a truly radical position.

You know what else is radical? Opposing a bipartisan, independent commission to report on a violent mob that attacked this Capitol. Spreading doubt about the veracity of our elections. That is radical, and in my opinion, despicable. It gnaws at the very roots of this grand democracy, and we hear either encouragement or acquiescence from the other side when President Trump and his minions do this.

You know what else is radical? Passing laws that specifically make it harder for younger, poorer and non-white Americans to vote. That is truly radical and dangerous. It’s against the whole grain of progress we’ve made in America, remembering that when the Constitution was passed, the vast majority of us in this chamber—who would have to be white, male, Protestant property-owners to vote [would not have been able to cast ballots]. We’ve made progress. They want to take a giant step back for pure electoral gain. Radical, that’s radical.

So we’re going to have a vote on paycheck fairness this week. The first vote is not even a vote on the bill itself, just a vote on whether to take it up for debate. We’ll see if our Republican colleagues take the radical step of blocking the Senate from even debating equal pay for women.