President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted an event at the White House with U.S. Women’s National Team soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Margaret Purce to mark Equal Pay Day. Watch their remarks.
JOE BIDEN: It undermines financial security for women and families. It hurts our entire economy when we lose the talent and hard work of so many people. In the American Rescue Plan you’ve heard so much about, that we just passed, it was designed to address this core challenge. It puts money directly into the pockets of people who need it the most. $1,400 checks for 85% of American households.
The 100th million check has been deposited as of today. And many more are on the way. It also expanded the child care tax credit. And here’s what that means, for those who don’t know. Right now, if you file for federal income tax, you get up to $2,000 credit for each child. But if you need help the most, if you’re making a minimum wage job and you don’t make enough to pay federal income tax, then you don’t get this credit.
But because of the American Rescue Plan we passed, if you have two children under the age of six, for example, and you’re making $7.25 an hour, which is the minimum wage so many people are making, you’ll get a check for $3,600 per child, or $7,200. Roughly you get $500 a month that’s mailed to you by the federal government.
That’s life-changing. The American Rescue Plan is going to cut poverty across the board in America by about 31%. And that’s a significant lift up for women. The law provides $360 billion for funding state and local governments.
What that means is that’s going to prevent layoffs and jobs often held by women. Nurses, teachers, health care workers, home health care aides, because the states have to balance their budget, because they can’t, because of the lack of income coming in without the help from the federal government, that they layoff those essential workers. And the law also includes a $130 billion to reopen our schools safely, $40 billion to for investing in child care investments, $160 billion to get the country vaccinated to beat this pandemic.
All this is going to give millions of women, including many moms and dads, too, the freedom to rejoin the workforce and make the career choices that are best for them and their families. But there’s so much more we need to do, so much more. We need the Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, the bill to remove loopholes in the law allowing employers to justify gender pay disparities. It would help hold employers accountable for systemic pay discrimination. It would help level the playing field for women and people of color by making it easier for workers to challenge the disparities as a group. It would increase pay transparency.
By that, I mean, you know there’s a whole range of American corporations, if you sign the Fortune 500, if you sign up with them, you cannot real– it says in your country you cannot reveal your salary to another employee. Why is that? They don’t want me sitting there saying, well I’m making $60,000, or the woman doing the same job, and she looks like you’re making $60,000, I’m making $40,000.
They actually try to hide it. That’s what I mean by transparency. Some employers may not allow you to know exactly, as I said, how much the person sitting next to you is making. Some even discipline you for asking that. That has to change. Too often, secrecy is part of the problem. We know information is power.
You can’t solve the problem if you don’t know you’re not getting paid fairly. My administration is going to fight for equal pay, for it has become a reality for all women. It’s about justice. It’s about fairness. It’s about living up to our values and who we are as a nation. Equal pay makes all of us stronger.
It’s not just women who care about this. I’ve been around the country. I’ve gone to union halls and asked the men in the room, how many– how would you feel if your wife or your sister didn’t earn the same amount of money as the man doing the same job next to you? And you hear them say, you hear them respond, they don’t like it. Why?
When your spouse or your sister is making the same amount of money the man she’s standing next to is making, it means that when the hot water heater breaks, you can replace it. You get four new tires on the car. It means everybody’s life is made better in that family.
Let me close with this, that to come out of this crisis and build back better, we need to erase the gender pay gap by ensuring that women have access to good paying jobs, by raising wages for working folks and fighting for the right to organize and collectively bargain. Because we know unions lift women’s wages even more than they lift men’s. And by investing our care and our care infrastructure– our care infrastructure, and paid leave, child care, home care so the people can care for their families and also go to work. There’s a lot to do.
But together, we can ensure that our daughters have all the same rights and opportunities as our sons. And if we’re able to do this, it would be transformational for our nation. That’s the goal. That’s what this is all about.
That’s what this team, all of you are all about. Let me make one more point. You know, I’ve told my daughters, granddaughters, from the time they got old enough to understand what I was saying, and I mean it, there’s not a single thing a man can do that a woman can’t do as well or better. Not a single thing.
I was among the first senators ever to appoint a woman to the Naval Academy. I was just able to, as president the United States, appoint two women as four star generals who now are combatant commanders. Three out of the six are combatant commanders, and they’re women. Women.
There’s so many, some in the Congress, who were jet fighter pilots, flying at twice the speed of sound. So many doing so much. But this soccer team, America’s team, has done more to lift up people’s sense of who they can be, particularly young girls and women, about anything has been done. So as president of the United States, I thank you. I thank you for the example you’ve set, and for your willingness to say, look, we’re not going to take it anymore. We’re not going to take it.
You take my trophies, but you can’t take my pride. As I said, my dad used to say, Joey, a job– when he lost his job, and had to get another one. We had to move. He’d say, you know, Joey, a job is about a lot more than the paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect.
It’s about your sense of yourself and your self-worth. It’s about your place in the community. That’s what this is all about. And that’s why you guys are leading the way. And now it’s my great pleasure and honor. I’d like you to stand next to me if you would, while I sign a proclamation making equal pay day, naming it.
And expressing our commitment to seek equal pay as we build back better and restore this economic growth. Thank you folks. I’m going to sign it now. Come on up here.
Part of the proclamation is National Equal Pay Day, 2021.
– You can move that.
– Just checking, making sure it says what it’s supposed to.
JOE BIDEN: That’s what it said.
– Joseph R. Biden.
JOE BIDEN: Junior, my dad. Was a fine man. It says equal pay is a reminder of the work that still remains to advance equal– equality and ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Thank you, guys.
– Thank you.
JOE BIDEN: Thanks, everybody.
– Thank you.
– Can I snake that pen?
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