diplomacy

Republican Senator Votes Against Equal Pay for Female Athletes Just to Prove a Petty Point

It was just supposed to be symbolic, but no. Congress can't even handle that.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Oct 30 2015, 1:48pm

It was supposed to be a simple, symbolic gesture to acknowledge women's rights, and Congress couldn't even agree on that.

On Thursday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked his fellow congressmen to send, essentially, a stern warning to FIFA about respecting equal pay for female athletes. To Leahy's point, the U.S. Women's National Team earned $2 million for their World Cup victory, as opposed to the $35 million that the German men won for theirs a year prior. In other words, this measure was a real softball.

And yet some curmudgeonly old Republican wouldn't even send the measure through, Huffington Post reports. Surprise, surprise.

"We have a budget to pass. We have a debt crisis to fix. We have an education system that needs reform," said 75-year-old Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). "That's what the United States Senate ought to be spending time on, rather than offering opinions and resolutions about a private international entity and how they should award prizes."

Well, that sounds all fine and good, Mr. Senator, but, as HuffPo found, you've passed a resolution to create an American Eagle Day and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. Worthwhile tax-funded pursuits indeed, Alexander.

In response to Alexander's stubbornness, Leahy asked, "If we cannot even pass a non-binding resolution, how can we ever achieve real pay equity for women?"

As for the measure, whatever—it's just symbolic, right? It's not like the U.S. government has effected change at FIFA before.