The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation unanimously passed the Equal Pay for Team USA Act (S. 2333). This marks a major milestone for the movement for equal pay and treatment for athletes under the jurisdiction of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
Sports Fans Coalition has lobbied for this issue for many years. On May 3rd, 2021, SFC Board Member Hope Solo sent a letter to Chairwoman Cantwell (D WA) and Senator Capito (R WV) calling for the reintroduction of the Equal Pay for Team USA Act. In the letter, she writes:
“To the rest of the world, the United States represents a promise of equality for all, yet we too often fail to deliver on that promise. As we head to Tokyo, it is imperative that our leaders make clear that all athletes have equal pay, training, access to medical care, and other forms of compensation. That starts with your leadership and your Equal Pay for Team USA Act.”
A few months later, Chairwoman Cantwell (D WA) and Senator Capito (R WV) introduced the legislation. At the time, Solo had this to say:
"I began the fight for equal pay in 2015. For most of that, it has been a lonely crusade. However, the introduction of the Equal Pay for Team USA Act proves that this movement has powerful allies. Words cannot express my gratitude for Chairwoman Cantwell and Senator Capito's leadership on such a critical bill for generations of athletes. I look forward to working with them to make this bill law."
While Tokyo and Beijing both ended, the fight for equal pay never did. And now, almost one year later, the bill took its first step toward becoming law, receiving a unanimous, bipartisan favorable vote from the committee.
“Thank you, Chairwoman Cantwell, Ranking Member Wicker, and all the members of the committee for supporting this bill.” said Brian Hess, Executive Director, Sports Fans Coalition. “At times this fight has felt like playing a championship game with an outnumbered team, but this is a historic moment in the movement for equal pay. Now we must take the next step and get the bill on the floor of the Senate.”
SFC will continue to fight for the bill, and calls on Majority Leader Schumer (D NY) to bring the bill up for vote as soon as possible.
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