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Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), walks down the Capitol steps on April 23, 2020. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to close loopholes used by employers to pay women less than men for doing the same work, passed the House in a vote of 217-210 on Thursday.

Why it matters: The pandemic has widened disparities for women's employment and economic equity. The World Economic Forum projects it will take women in North America roughly 61.5 years to have economic parity with men.

The big picture: This is the fourth time Democrats have attempted to pass the legislation. The act passed the House in 2008, 2009, and 2019.

  • The bill, reintroduced in late January, has only three Republican co-sponsors in the House — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J.), and Christopher Smith (D-N.J.).
  • Republicans say the act would open businesses to lawsuits and point to condemnations from the Chamber of Commerce as evidence that Democrats' bill would erode protections for employers and discourage hiring.
  • Most Republicans counter that the Wage Equity Act is a better way to address pay disparities. The bill, introduced by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), would encourage companies to voluntarily analyze employee pay and direct GAO, an independent government agency, to study impacts of women leaving the workforce for family reasons.

Go deeper

Apr 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Gillibrand: National paid parental leave would boost small businesses

Axios' Kim Hart and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Axios

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said that federally funded paid parental leave could boost small businesses who would otherwise be unable to offer the benefit to employees, while speaking at an Axios virtual event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Nearly a million American mothers have left the workforce during the pandemic and women's labor force participation is at a 33-year low. Some of the decline has been attributed to more women quitting their jobs, at least temporarily, to take care of their children.

Apr 15, 2021 - Technology

House inches toward Big Tech antitrust reform

Rep. David Cicilline. Photo: Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images

Two House committees have moved a step closer to achieving legislative reform aimed at Big Tech.

Driving the news: The House Judiciary Committee passed its tech antitrust report, completed after a year-long investigation into the behaviors of platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, out of committee late Wednesday.

Instagram's boss faces Congress' questions on harm to teens

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED

The head of Instagram will find himself in Congress' crosshairs for the first time Wednesday in the one area lawmakers have shown they are willing to pass tech regulations — protecting youngsters online.

Why it matters: Republicans and Democrats have found common ground in grilling tech companies on how their products harm children, especially after revelations in The Wall Street Journal about Instagram's potential harm to the mental health of teen girls.

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