Democrats Introduce Bill to Give Men and Women’s National Teams Equal Pay

Two female Democratic senators have introduced a bill requiring equal pay for female athletes on the U.S. national teams, just days after the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup in soccer.

The bill was introduced Wednesday by Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Patty Murray of Washington, aiming to have the U.S. Code amended to require equal pay for men’s and women’s national athletic teams. 

Feinstein’s office said that the move was prompted by the national team’s March lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, in which 28 members of USWNT argue that the organization discriminated against the women by paying them less than members of the men’s national team, CNN informs. The two sides agreed to mediation last month, which is expected to begin soon.

The bill would add “wages and other compensation” to the existing code requirements for “equitable support and encouragement for participation by women where separate programs for male and female athletes are conducted on a national basis.”

It would additionally oblige the U.S. sports federations to submit annual reports to Congress containing compensation data by race and gender.

“Despite the incredible advancements made by women in sports, female athletes in sports like soccer and hockey are paid significantly less than their male counterparts,” Senator Feinstein said in a statement. “America cheered as the women’s soccer team won a historic fourth World Cup, but our support shouldn’t end with ticker-tape parades. All women should receive fair and equal pay, including our women athletes in every sport.”

Murray echoed her colleague’s comments, stressing that by paying female athletes equally they are being honored.

A similarly inspired bill was also introduced Tuesday by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. The bill would withhold federal funding for the United States’ hosting of the 2026 men’s World Cup until the men’s and women’s national soccer teams receive equal pay.

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