Statement by the President on the Paycheck Fairness Act
This afternoon, Senate Republicans refused to allow an up-or-down vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a commonsense piece of legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and give women more tools to fight pay discrimination. It is incredibly disappointing that in this make-or-break moment for the middle class, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of American women and their families. Despite the progress that has been made over the years, women continue to earn substantially less than men for performing the same work. My Administration will continue to fight for a woman’s right for equal pay for equal work, as we rebuild our economy so that hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and every American gets a fair shot to succeed.
FACT SHEET: Fighting for Equal Pay and the Paycheck Fairness Act
Today, the President continues to advocate for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a comprehensive bill that strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work. The Paycheck Fairness Act is commonsense legislation that, among other things, would achieve the following:
- · Better align key Equal Pay Act defenses with those in Title VII.
- · Bring remedies available under the Equal Pay Act into line with remedies available under other civil rights laws.
- · Make the requirements for class action lawsuits under the Equal Pay Act match those of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
- · Protect employees who share their own salary information at work from retaliation by an employer.
The existing legal tools available to remedy pay discrimination are not enough, so Congress needs to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act now.
From the beginning of his administration, President Obama has worked to ensure that women are paid fairly for their work. The President is committed to securing equal pay for equal work because it’s essential that we build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot. American families and the health of our nation’s economy depend on it.
According to the latest U.S. Census statistics, on average, full-time working women earned 77 cents to every dollar earned by men for equivalent work, and the gap is significantly more for women of color, with African-American women earning 64 cents and Latina women earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a Caucasian man.
No matter how you evaluate the data, there remains a pay gap—even after factoring in the kind of work people do, or qualifications such as education and experience. In other words, pay discrimination is a real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families.
This gap is more than a mere statistic. It has real-life consequences. Women, who compose nearly half of the workforce, are bringing home 23 percent less than their male counterparts – which means less for families’ everyday needs, less for investments in our children’s futures, and, when added up over a lifetime of work, substantially less for retirement. Indeed, if the earnings gap is not corrected, according to U.S. Census data, by the age of 65 years, the average working woman would have lost more than $430,000 over her working lifetime. When women earn less than their fair share, that loss not only harms women, but also weakens families, communities, and our entire economy.
Under the President’s leadership, this Administration has made significant progress to bridge the gender pay gap:
ü The very first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended the time period in which claimants can bring pay discrimination claims, enabling countless victims of pay discrimination to seek redress where they otherwise could not. The Ledbetter Act supersedes the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), which had required a compensation discrimination charge to be filed within 180 days of any discriminatory pay decision. The unfortunate result of this ruling was to put justice out of reach for many victims of pay discrimination, because employees rarely know so quickly that they are being paid in a discriminatory manner. This was the case for Lilly Ledbetter, who made less than her male colleagues doing the same jobs for over a decade before someone left her an anonymous note informing her of this inequity.
ü In 2010, the President pledged to crack down on violations of equal pay laws and, that same year, established the National Equal Pay Task Force. The Task Force, which consists of professionals at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management, has improved enforcement of equal pay laws and improved efficiency and efficacy by enhancing federal interagency collaboration. Under this Administration, the government has recovered unprecedented monetary recoveries, and investments in education and outreach for both employers and employees are paying huge dividends. To learn more about the Task Force’s work, see the recently released Equal Pay Task Force Accomplishments Report: Fighting for Fair Pay in the Workplace.
ü In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced the winners of the “Equal Pay App Challenge.” The Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Equal Pay Task Force, launched this challenge earlier this year – inviting software developers to use publicly available data and resources to create applications that provide greater access to pay data organized by gender, race, and ethnicity; provide interactive tools for early career coaching or online mentoring; or provide data to help inform pay negotiations. A solution to the pay gap has been elusive, in part because access to basic information – e.g., typical salary ranges and skill level requirements for particular positions, or advice on how to negotiate appropriate pay – is limited. Because of the enthusiastic response to the “Equal Pay App Challenge” and the creative apps that were developed, anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer will be able to access answers to these basic, but important, questions. This challenge represents just one more way that the Administration is empowering women with the tools they need to make sure they get equal pay for equal work.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY H.R. 5325 – Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 5325 – Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies
Appropriations Act, 2013
(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 5325, making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year (FY) ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes.
Last summer, the Congress and the President came to a bipartisan agreement to put the Nation on a sustainable fiscal course in enacting the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The BCA created a framework for more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction and provided tight spending caps that would bring discretionary spending to a minimum level needed to preserve critical national priorities. Departing from the bipartisan agreement reached in the BCA and departing from these caps, the House of Representatives put forward a topline discretionary funding level for FY 2013 that, for example, would cost jobs and hurt average Americans, especially seniors, veterans, and children – as well as degrade many of the basic Government services on which the American people rely, such as air traffic control and law enforcement. In addition, these cuts were made in the context of a budget that fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility by giving millionaires and billionaires a tax cut and paying for it through deep cuts, including to discretionary programs.
Taking this into account, passing H.R. 5325 at its current funding level would mean that when the Congress constructs other appropriations bills, it would necessitate significant and harmful cuts to critical national priorities such as education, research and development, job training, and health care. Furthermore, this bill undermines key investments in clean energy and scientific research and development, building blocks of our Nation’s future economy. Investing in these areas is critical to the Nation’s economic growth, security, and global competitiveness. The Administration also strongly objects to the inclusion of ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation.
If the President were presented with H.R. 5325, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee’s version of the bill.
Department of Energy (DOE)
Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA–E). The Administration strongly opposes the reduction in funding for ARPA–E. The bill provides $200 million for the program, which is $150 million below the FY 2013 Budget request and $75 million below the FY 2012 enacted level. ARPA–E funds early stage, transformative energy technology research that industry, by itself, is unlikely to support. Investments in ARPA–E are aimed at ensuring that the Nation remains at the forefront of new energy technology development to ensure the United States remains a lead competitor in this area.
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The Administration strongly opposes the level of funding provided for EERE, which is $886 million below the FY 2013 Budget request and $428 million less than the FY 2012 enacted level. The current funding in the bill would be the lowest level of funding for EERE since FY 2006, leaving U.S. competitiveness at risk in new markets and clean energy industries such as advanced vehicles, advanced manufacturing, energy efficiency for homes and businesses, and domestic renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biomass. This level cuts funding for solar energy and for building energy efficiency nearly in half from the FY 2012 enacted level.
Office of Science. The Administration strongly opposes the level of funding in the bill for the Office of Science, which is $191 million below the FY 2013 Budget request and $73 million below the FY 2012 enacted level. The funding provided would hinder important research underpinning U.S. innovation in clean energy technologies and applications. The Office of Science also funds basic research across a broad spectrum of physical, biological, and environmental sciences. Reductions in support for these areas may lead to a loss of U.S. leadership in many areas of science.
Energy Information Administration (EIA). The Administration urges the House to fully fund EIA, which will allow the agency to continue to provide independent and rigorous analysis of America’s energy markets, including important national energy consumption and production data. This level is also necessary to improve the security of procedures and data delivery methods for reports, such as weekly oil stock reports, that can move market prices. The bill currently provides $100 million, which is $16 million below the FY 2013 Budget request and $5 million less than the FY 2012 enacted level.
National Nuclear Security Administration. The Administration greatly appreciates the Committee’s support for Presidential initiatives to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and to maintain a robust deterrent. This support will help continue efforts to secure nuclear materials in four years, maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear stockpile through stockpile stewardship and life extensions, recapitalize the aging infrastructure of the nuclear enterprise, and develop a reactor for the Ohio Class replacement submarine.
Statutory by Reference Provision. The Administration urges the House to remove section 301(c) of the bill, which incorporates the text as well as the specific funding directions of the House report into the statute by reference. There are multiple provisions in the report language that could be problematic or otherwise counter to the specific activities laid out in the FY 2013 Budget. In addition, enactment of this provision would limit flexibility and efficiency in execution.
Army Corps of Engineers (Corps)
Overall Funding and New Starts. The Administration urges the House to reduce the overall level of funding to that requested in the FY 2013 Budget, and to reallocate funds to restore funding requested for several priority programs and initiatives. These priority programs include the start of construction work on an important new program to reverse damage to the coastal Louisiana ecosystem and other priority new construction starts; a study requested by the Congress to examine flood risks nationwide to improve existing programs; and the restoration of $15 million to the Corps’ regulatory program, so it can process permit applications in a timely manner.
Inland Waterways. The Administration appreciates the Committee’s continued strong support for cost-sharing of inland waterways capital investments. The Administration also urges the House to include the general provision proposed in the FY 2013 Budget to increase the total authorized cost for the Olmsted Locks and Dam project.
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation
San Joaquin River Restoration. The Administration strongly opposes the Committee’s elimination of funding for this program, which would undermine the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement’s goals to restore and maintain fish populations and reduce or avoid water supply impacts.
The Administration strongly opposes problematic policy and language riders including, but not limited to, the following provisions in this bill:
Yucca Mountain. Section 508 of the bill would prohibit using funds made available by the bill for any actions related to the Administration’s plan for Yucca Mountain, such as closing the application process.
DOE Weatherization Assistance Program. Section 307 of the bill permanently blocks existing Weatherization Assistance Program authorizations, reducing the efficiency of the program by lowering the maximum income level for retrofit assistance eligibility, the maximum financial assistance per weatherized home, and the maximum allocation allowed for Training and Technical Assistance from current levels.
Fossil-fuel generated energy consumption reduction. Section 311 would prevent funding for the development and implementation of a rule to improve energy efficiency and reduce reliance on fossil fuels in Federal buildings, and would hinder the Administration’s ability to improve the efficiency of Federal buildings and reduce harmful greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions.
Clean Water Act (CWA). Section 110 of the bill would stop an Administration effort to provide clarity on which water bodies are covered by CWA. The existing regulations were the subject of two Supreme Court cases in 2001 and 2006, in which the Court indicated the need for greater regulatory clarity on the scope of CWA jurisdiction.
The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2013 appropriations process moves forward.
* * * * * * *
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON VETERANS JOBS
Honeywell Golden Valley Facility
Golden Valley, Minnesota
12:18 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Golden Valley! (Applause.) It is good to be back in Minnesota. (Applause.) It is good to see your Governor, Mark Dayton, here. (Applause.) On the way over we were talking about making sure the Vikings were staying. (Applause.) Now, that’s a hard thing for a Bears fan to do. (Laughter.) But I was rooting for the Vikings sticking around here — and the Governor did a great job. You were praying, too, huh? (Laughter.) Absolutely. Prayer never hurts. It helps.
You got two outstanding Senators, Amy Klobuchar — (applause) — and Al Franken. (Applause.) Your mayor, Shep Harris is here. (Applause.) Outstanding congressional delegation in the house. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) And I thought Ryan was really good, so give him a big round of applause. (Applause.) He’s a natural.
Now, one of the last times I was here was last August. We took a bus tour around the state. I needed a little “Minnesota nice.” (Laughter.) I stopped for some pie in Zumbrota. I held a town hall in Cannon Falls. Amy and Al were there. I think Al ate my pie, in fact. (Laughter.) And I spent a lot of time talking with folks who’d spent the past couple years making their way through a tough economy.
And today, we’re still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The economy is growing again, but it’s not growing as fast as we want it to grow. Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, but as we learned in today’s jobs report, we’re still not creating them as fast as we want. And just like this time last year, our economy is still facing some serious headwinds. We had high gas prices a month, two months ago, and they’re starting to come down, and they were spiking, but they’re still hitting people’s wallets pretty hard. That has an impact. And then, most prominently, most recently, we’ve had a crisis in Europe’s economy that is having an impact worldwide, and it’s starting to cast a shadow on our own as well. So we’ve got a lot of work to do before we get to where we need to be. And all these factors have made it even more challenging to not just fully recover, but also lay the foundation for an economy that’s built to last over the long term.
But that’s our job. From the moment we first took action to prevent another depression, we knew the road to recovery would not be easy. We knew it would take time. We knew there would be ups and downs along the way. But we also knew if we were willing to act wisely, and boldly, and if we were acting together, as Americans; if we were willing to keep at it; if we were willing to roll up our sleeves and never quit –- then we wouldn’t just come back, we’d come back stronger than ever. That was our belief. (Applause.) And that continues to be my belief.
We will come back stronger, we do have better days ahead, and that is because of all of you. That’s because of all of you. (Applause.) I’d place my bets on American workers and American businesses any day of the week. (Applause.) You’ve been fighting through this tough economy with resilience and grit and innovation. Honeywell is a great example of a company that’s doing outstanding work, and I want to acknowledge Dave Cote here who has been –- (applause) -– serving on my Jobs Council and doing a lot of great work.
That’s why our auto industry has come roaring back. It’s why manufacturing is consistently adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. (Applause.) All that is happening because of you. Everybody here plays by the rules. You work hard. You meet your responsibilities. And you deserve leaders who do the same — leaders who will stand shoulder to shoulder with you and do everything possible to strengthen the middle class and move this economy forward. That’s what you deserve. (Applause.)
Look, we can’t fully control everything that happens in other parts of the world — disturbances in the Middle East, what’s going on in Europe. But there are plenty of things we can control here at home. There are plenty of steps we can take right now to help create jobs and grow this economy.
Now, let me give you a couple examples. I sent Congress a jobs bill last September full of the kinds of bipartisan ideas that would have put our fellow Americans back to work and helped reinforce our economy against some of these outside shocks. I sent them a plan that would have reduced the deficit by $4 trillion in a way that is balanced — that pays for the job-creating investments we need by cutting unnecessary spending, but also by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes. (Applause.)
And I’ll give them a little bit of credit: Congress has passed a few parts of that jobs bill, like a tax cut that’s allowing working Americans to keep more of your paychecks every week. That was important. I appreciated it. But Congress has not acted on enough of the other ideas in that bill that would make a difference and help create jobs right now. And there’s no excuse for it. Not when there are so many people out there still looking for work. Not when there are still folks out there struggling to pay their bills. It’s not lost on anybody that it’s an election year –- I understand that; I’ve noticed. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Four more years! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: But we’ve got responsibilities that are bigger than an election. (Applause.) We’ve got responsibilities to you.
So my message to Congress is: Now is not the time to play politics. Now is not the time to sit on your hands. The American people expect their leaders to work hard no matter what year it is. The economy still isn’t where it needs to be. There are steps that could make a difference right now — steps that can also serve as a buffer in case the situation in Europe gets any worse.
So, right now, Congress should pass a bill to help states prevent more layoffs, so we can put thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers back on the job. (Applause.) Layoffs at the state and local levels have been a chronic problem for our recovery, but it’s a problem we can fix.
Congress should have passed a bill a long time ago to put thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our runways. (Applause.) Since the housing bubble burst, no sector has been hit harder than the construction industry, and we’ve got all this stuff that needs fixed. Remember that bridge here in Minnesota? So this is a problem we can fix. Let’s do it right away.
Instead of just talking about job creators, Congress should give small business owners a tax break for hiring more workers and paying them higher wages. We can get that done. (Applause.) We can get it done right now. Let’s not wait.
Right now, Congress should give every responsible homeowner the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage. We’ve got historically low rates right now. (Applause.) I was with a family in Reno, Nevada, a couple weeks ago. They got a chance to refinance — even though their home was underwater — put that money back in their pockets because we had taken some steps as an administration to make that available for those who have mortgages held by government agencies like the FHA or a government guarantee. But not everybody has those kinds of mortgages. I want everybody to have those same opportunities.
I assume there are some folks here who could use $3,000 a year. (Applause.) Let’s get that done right now. That means there are going to be — if you have $3,000 a year extra, that helps you pay down your credit cards. That helps you go out and buy some things that your family needs, which is good for business. Maybe somebody will be replacing some thingamajig for their furnace. (Laughter.) They’ve been putting that off. But if they’ve got that extra money, they might just go out there and buy that thing. Right? (Laughter and applause.)
Right now, Congress needs to extend the tax credits for clean energy manufacturers that are set to expire at the end of this year. I was talking to Dave Cote. The issue of energy efficiency and everything we need to do to shift away from dependence on foreign oil, we’re making huge progress. (Applause.) We’re actually importing less oil than any time in the last eight years. We’re down under 50 percent, but we can do more.
And these clean energy companies, they’re hiring folks. They’re helping us break dependence on foreign oil. It’s part of a package of stuff that Honeywell is doing a lot of work on. But almost 40,000 jobs are on the line if these tax credits expire. Why would anyone in Congress walk away from those jobs? We need to pass those tax credits right now. (Applause.) We need to pass them right now. (Applause.)
It’s long past time we started encouraging what a lot of companies have been doing lately, which is bringing jobs back to this country. (Applause.) And some of them are coming to Minnesota. The Governor and I were talking in the car about some companies coming back — Red Bull, right, coming back. But let’s give more incentive. It’s time for Congress to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Let’s use that money to cover moving expenses for companies that are bringing jobs back to America. (Applause.) That would make a difference right now.
So those are all steps that we could be taking to strengthen the economy, to provide us some insurance if the situation overseas starts getting worse so we can control our own destiny, keep this recovery moving forward.
Which brings me to the last thing Congress should do to help businesses create jobs — that’s why I’m here at Honeywell today. I believe that no one who fights for this country should ever have to fight for a job when they come home. (Applause.) And for Congress, that means creating a Veterans Job Corps so we can put our returning heroes back to work as cops and firefighters, on projects that protect our public lands and resources. And they should do it right now. They should do it right now. But if we’re going to serve our veterans as well as they’ve served us, we’ve got to do even more.
We just observed Memorial Day, which makes us think about the extraordinary sacrifices so many make. But we’ve got to make sure we translate words into action. We can’t just be in a parade, can’t just march. We also have to deliver for our veterans.
Over the past three decades — over the past decades, rather, more than 3 million servicemembers have transitioned back to civilian life. And now that the war in Iraq is over and we’re starting to wind down the war in Afghanistan — (applause) — over a million more of those outstanding heroes, they’re going to be joining this process of transition back into civilian life over the next few years.
Now, just think about the skills these veterans have acquired at an incredibly young age. Think about the leadership they’ve learned — 25-year-olds, 26-year-olds leading platoons into unbelievably dangerous situations, life-or-death situations. Think about the cutting-edge technologies they’ve mastered; their ability to adapt to changing and unpredictable situations — you can’t get that stuff from a classroom.
I mean, these kids, these men, these women, they’ve done incredible work, and that’s exactly the kind of leadership and responsibility that every business in America should be wanting to attract, should be competing to attract. That’s the kind of talent we need to compete for the jobs and the industries of the future. These are the kinds of Americans that every company should want to hire. (Applause.)
And that’s why, here at Honeywell, you’ve made it a mission to hire more veterans. (Applause.) And let me say, Dave is incredibly patriotic, loves his veterans, but this — Honeywell is doing this not just because it feels good. They’re doing it because it’s good for business, because veterans make outstanding workers. So today, I’m taking executive action that will make it easier for a lot of companies to do the same thing.
I’ve told the story before of a soldier in the 82nd Airborne who served as a combat medic in Afghanistan, saved lives over there, earned a Bronze Star for his actions. But he came home, here to Minnesota — met him on our way to Cannon Falls. When he first came home, he couldn’t even get a job as a first responder. Think about it — this guy is out there taking care of troops who are wounded in action, couldn’t initially get a job. So then he took classes through the Post-9/11 GI Bill — classes that he could have taught — (laughter) — just so he could qualify for the same duties at home that he had performed every day at war.
Let me tell you something — if you can save a life on the battlefield, you can save a life in an ambulance. (Applause.) If you can oversee a convoy or millions of dollars of assets in Iraq, you can help manage a supply chain or balance its books here at home. If you can maintain the most advanced weapons in the world, if you’re an electrician on a Navy ship, well, you can manufacture the next generation of advanced technology in our factories like this one. (Applause.) If you’re working on complex machinery, you should be able to take those skills and find a manufacturing job right here — right here at home.
But, unfortunately, a lot of returning heroes with advanced skills like these, they don’t get hired simply because they don’t have the civilian licenses or certifications that a lot of companies require. At the same time, I hear from business leaders all the time who say they can’t find enough workers with the skills necessary to fill open positions. Eighty percent of manufacturers say this, according to one survey. So think about it — we got all these openings and all these skilled veterans looking for work, and somehow they’re missing each other. That doesn’t make any sense. So that’s where executive action comes in. That’s where we’re going to fix it.
Today, I’m proud to announce new partnerships between the military and manufacturing groups that will make it easier for companies to hire returning servicemembers who prove they’ve earned the skills our country needs. (Applause.) Soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, Coast Guardsmen — if they’ve got skills in machining or welding or weapons maintenance, for example, you’ll have a faster track to good-paying manufacturing jobs. Servicemembers with experience in logistics or maintenance on the front lines, they’ll have a faster track to jobs in those fields here at home.
I’ve also directed the Department of Defense to establish a new task force charged with finding new opportunities for servicemembers to use the skills they’ve learned in the military to gain the relevant industry credentials — the civilian certifications and licenses — so that it doesn’t cost them and they don’t necessarily have to go back to school for three years and take out a whole bunch of student loans when, potentially, they could do it quicker, more inexpensively, and get on the job faster. We’re talking about jobs in manufacturing, in health care, in IT, in logistics, for first responders — so that returning combat medic that I spoke about, he doesn’t have to prove himself over and over again.
So this task force’s first action is going to create opportunities for up to 126,000 servicemembers to gain the industry-recognized certifications for high-demand manufacturing jobs like the jobs right here at this plant at Honeywell. (Applause.) This builds on the Skills for America’s Future partnership that we launched last year with the National Association of Manufacturers to provide 500,000 community college students with industry-recognized credentials that will help them secure good manufacturing jobs.
And all of this builds on the steps we’ve already taken to make sure our returning heroes come home able to share in the opportunities that they have defended. Because when our men and women sign up to become a soldier, a sailor, an airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman, they don’t stop being a citizen. When they take off that uniform, their service to this nation doesn’t stop. Think about previous generations. Well, today’s veterans are the same. When they come home, they’re looking to continue serving America however they can. And at a time when America needs all hands on deck, they’ve got the skills and the strength to help lead the way.
Our government needs their patriotism and their sense of duty. That’s why I ordered the hiring of more veterans by the federal government; we’ve hired more than 200,000 so far. (Applause.)
Our economy needs their outstanding talent. That’s why I pushed hard last year for tax breaks for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors. And I’m proud to say that both parties in Congress came together to get that part done.
That’s why we launched free personalized job services — job search services through the Veterans Gold Card program and an online Veterans Job Bank to help veterans find jobs that meet their talents. And, by the way, if there are any veterans here who need those services, you can find that at WhiteHouse.gov/vets. And then, later this month, the VA will hold a jobs fair in Detroit where 12,000 more opportunities will be available to veterans.
And that’s also why I challenged business leaders to hire 100,000 post-9/11 veterans and their spouses by the end of next year — because don’t forget our military families. They’re serving alongside our veterans. (Applause.) Michelle and Jill Biden — that’s Michelle Obama and Jill Biden — (laughter) — just in case you were curious. (Laughter.) You might not know which Michelle I was talking about. (Laughter.) They’re leading this effort with respect to military families, nationally. It’s called Joining Forces — to mobilize all of us to support today’s military families and their veterans.
And so far, the good news is participating businesses have hired more than 70,000 veterans. And they’ve pledged to hire 175,000 more in the coming years. And I want to thank Honeywell not only for being an active partner in this initiative, but, right here, Honeywell has hired 900 veterans over the past year, and for employing 65 veterans here just here at Golden Valley. So give them a big round of applause. Proud of you. (Applause.)
Standing up for our veterans, this is not a Democratic responsibility, it’s not a Republican responsibility — it’s an American responsibility. It’s an obligation of every citizen who enjoys the freedom that these heroes defended. So we’ve got to meet our obligations today just like folks here at Honeywell are doing.
And as Commander-in-Chief, I want all of our servicemembers and veterans to know we are forever grateful for your service and your sacrifice. Just like you fought for us, we’ll keep fighting for you — (applause) — for more jobs, more security, for the opportunity to keep your families strong — because you’ll help us keep America on top in the 21st century. (Applause.) We’re going to keep fighting, just as you did, to show just why it is that the United State of America is the greatest nation on Earth.
God bless you. God bless America.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
Via Conference Call
12:15 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, guys, thanks for joining the call. As Valerie just said, and I know everybody has been talking about, tomorrow Congress is going to have a chance to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. I don’t have to tell you how much this matters to families across the country. All of you are working day in, day out, to support the basic principle, equal pay for equal work.
And we’ve made progress. But we’ve got a lot more to do. Women still earn just 70 cents for every dollar a man earns. It’s worse for African American women and Latinas. Over the course of her career a woman with a college degree is going to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who is doing the same work.
So at a time when we’re in a make-or-break moment for the middle class, Congress has to step up and do its job. If Congress passes the Paycheck Fairness Act, women are going to have access to more tools to claim equal pay for equal work. If they don’t, if Congress doesn’t act, then women are still going to have difficulty enforcing and pressing for this basic principle.
And we’ve got to understand this is more than just about fairness. Women are the breadwinners for a lot of families, and if they’re making less than men do for the same work, families are going to have to get by for less money for childcare and tuition and rent, small businesses have fewer customers. Everybody suffers.
So that’s why we moved forward with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. That’s why I established a National Equal Pay Task Force to help crack down on violations of equal pay laws. Earlier this year, the Department of Labor announced the winners of a national competition for equal pay apps that give women interactive tools and key information to help them determine if they’re getting paid fairly.
So we’re going to be releasing this afternoon a formal administration policy message supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act, and we’re going to call on Congress to do the right thing. But let’s face it. Congress is not going to act because I said it’s important; they’re going to act because you guys are making your voices heard. So senators have to know you’re holding them accountable. Everything that they’re going to be hearing over the next 24 hours can make a difference in terms of how they vote.
We’ve got a long way to go, but we can make this happen, and together we can keep moving forward. So let’s make sure hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded.
I appreciate everything you guys do. And I’m going to turn over the call to Cecilia Muñoz, who is going to describe the Paycheck Fairness Act in more detail.
Thanks, everybody. Bye-bye.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 3220 – Paycheck Fairness Act
(Sen. Mikulski, D-MD, and 31 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act. Women continue to earn substantially less than men for performing the same work. Women earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn, with women of color at an even greater disadvantage with 64 cents on the dollar for African American women and 56 cents for Hispanic women. As more and more American families rely on women’s wages for a significant portion of their income, the pay gap hurts not only women, but the families that depend on them.
The Paycheck Fairness Act is commonsense legislation that strengthens the Equal Pay Act and would give women the tools they need to fight pay discrimination. This bill would address the pay gap by enhancing enforcement of equal pay laws. Specifically, it would prohibit retaliation against employees who ask about or discuss wage information, and would provide more effective remedies for women subjected to discriminatory pay practices. S. 3220 would strengthen the Equal Pay Act by closing judicially-created loopholes for employer defenses and by bringing its class action rules into conformity with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. S. 3220 also requires the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect pay data to enable better enforcement of laws prohibiting pay discrimination.