Speaking on the House floor, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky called on Congress to update the 1963 Equal Pay Act and guarantee pay equity for women in the workplace.
The law was first enacted by President John F. Kennedy and is aimed at abolishing wage disparities between the sexes.
Fifty years ago, women made 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Recent studies show women are growing as the chief breadwinners in U.S. households, but still make just 77 centers compared to their male counterparts.
Yarmuth says that fact women have made only 18 cents worth of progress in half a century shows the need for lawmakers to close loopholes in the law.
House Democrats have approved the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the law in previous Congresses, but the proposal has stalled since Republicans took control in 2011.
On Meet The Press this Sunday, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who has voted against pay equity laws, said companies need to make sure women aren’t short-changed, but that lawmakers shouldn’t be making these decisions.
“I’ve always said I didn’t want to be given a job because I was a female. I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job,” she said. “And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein, that is what women want. They don’t want the decisions made in Washington.”