Lawmakers call for quick House vote on equal pay legislation for athletes in international competition

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged House leadership to bring up a chamber vote on proposed legislation that would require athletes representing the U.S. to receive equal compensation and benefits regardless of gender.

In a letter sent Monday to the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the group called for a vote on the Equal Pay for Team USA Act, saying sports organizations are still not required to provide equal compensation and benefits between genders.

“This year marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which has significantly increased the opportunities and support our female student athletes receive,” the lawmakers’ letter reads. “To build on these gains, it’s time for Congress to take the next step in our nation’s commitment to gender equity in sports.”

“Female athletes competing on the world stage can be, and often are, paid less and provided less favorable terms of employment than their male counter parts,” the letter added.

The letter was led by Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), and was also signed by Democratic Reps. Katie Porter (Calif.), Sara Jacobs (Calif.), Don Beyer (Va.), Kathy Castor (Fla.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Deborah Ross (N.C.) and Kim Schrier (Wash.) and Republican Reps. David McKinley (W.Va.) and Maria Elvira Salazar (Fla.).

The Equal Pay for Team USA Act, first introduced by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wa.) in 2019, would require all U.S. athletes participating in global amateur athletic competitions to receive equal compensation and benefits in their sport regardless of gender. The legislation also calls for equal pay for medical care, travel and expenses.

The Senate passed the legislation by voice vote earlier this month. It is backed by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, among other groups.

The U.S. Soccer Federation earlier this year reached a landmark agreement with the U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams, allowing the teams to receive identical compensation for all competitions and the same commercial revenue-sharing mechanism, such as equal prize money for World Cup victories.

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