The last week and a half has been a flurry of activity around the Equal Pay for Team USA Act (S. 2333). After the bill unanimously passed the Senate, Sports Fans Coalition and other equal pay advocates turned their attention to the House of Representatives, calling to pass the bill and send it to the President. Tonight, the House of Representatives did just that 350-59. "Sports Fans Coalition thanks Senators Cantwell, Capito, and their staffs for their tireless devotion to equal pay," said Brian Hess, Executive Director, "Our future Olympic champions will look back on this day as one of the most important in women's sports history."
S. 2333 was reintroduced this Congress on July 13, 2021 following a letter Hope Solo, Lisa Stoia, and Nikki Izzo-Brown sent calling for the reintroduction. At the time, Solo said "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." Since then, SFC has been aggressively lobbying the bill. In June, the Senate Commerce Committee (the committee which has jurisdiction over the USOPC) unanimously passed the bill. SFC's Executive Director, Brian Hess, remarked, “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.” That next step took some time, but finally, on December 8th the bill passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent.
On December 12th, Sports Fans Coalition Board Members sent a letter to Majority Leader Hoyer calling for the bill to be included on the Suspension Calendar. The letter read:
Dear Majority Leader Hoyer,
Sports Fans Coalition, the nation’s leading sports consumer protection organization, asks that the Equal Pay for Team USA Act (S. 2333) be brought for a vote during the current Lame Duck session, preferably on the Suspension Calendar. Introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), S. 2333 unanimously passed the Senate on December 8th. We believe this bill has the necessary votes in the House to pass with overwhelming support.
Sports Fans Coalition, founded in 2009, is a national non-profit advocacy organization devoted to representing fans wherever public policy impacts the games we love. We are the creators of the Sports Bettors’ Bill of Rights, a set of five principles that should accompany sports betting legislation to protect consumers while maximizing state revenues, which the Maryland state legislature recently enacted.
Our board member, Olympic gold medal and World Cup-winning Women’s U.S. soccer team goalkeeper, Hope Solo, started the fight for equality in 2015. Growing up in Richland, Washington, soccer formed some of her earliest memories, and she played through several local programs, including at the University of Washington. Her love of soccer carried Solo all the way to the international stage, where she represented what women are capable of at several World Cups and Olympics. However, she quickly realized that women, despite all they achieve, are not compensated equally to men. In 2015, she set out to change that. Six years later, while the United States Soccer Federation tried to silence her, she persisted. With Sports Fans Coalition, she has worked tirelessly to pass this vital legislation.
To the rest of the world, the United States represents a promise of equality for all. We should deliver on hat promise. The 117th Congress occurred during a historic time when two Olympic games were held, and while a country known for human rights abuses hosted a World Cup. Through that lens, our leaders must make clear to the world that Americans believe all athletes should have equal pay, training, access to medical care, and other forms of compensation, regardless of gender. We hope this letter encourages you to bring the Equal Pay for Team USA Act to a vote during the Lame Duck session.
Thank you for your consideration and your support for women athletes everywhere.
David Goodfriend, Chairman
Habiba Alcindor, Board Member
Brian Frederick, Board Member
Chris Lewis, Board Member
Hope Solo, Board Member
Mark Walsh, Board Member
Dave Zirin, Board Member
Brian Hess, Executive Director
A bipartisan group of eleven Members of the House of Representatives sent a similar letter to Majority Leader Hoyer, as well.
Tonight, with the passage of S. 2333, SFC could not be more thrilled to see this bill overwhelmingly pass both Chambers, and call on President Biden to sign the bill quickly.