Equal Pay for Team USA Act Passed by House of Representatives; Will Go to President

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 22, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 6:  Participants rejoice after during signing ceremony for the historic new Collective Bargaining Agreements for equal pay for Women athletes at Audi Field (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

After a long fight for equal pay, the United States women's national soccer team will be legally required to be compensated as much as the men's team.

Eddie Pells of the Associated Press reported the House of Representatives passed the Equal Pay for Team USA Act on Wednesday after the bill previously passed through the Senate with unanimous support.

The next stop is President Joe Biden's desk to be signed into law.

"By sending this legislation to the President, both houses have sent a clear message that this is the standard for all National Teams in all sports and it underscores the importance of working with our athletes to achieve equal pay including equalizing international prize money," U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement.

The bill, which stems from the federal gender discrimination lawsuit the USWNT filed against U.S. Soccer in 2019, provides equal pay and benefits for all athletes representing their country in global competitions across 50 sports.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee will provide oversight to ensure the law is followed.

In September, Anne M. Peterson of the Associated Press reported the USWNT and USMNT signed collective bargaining agreements with U.S. Soccer that run through 2028 and provide equal pay structure for tournament appearances, tournament wins, revenue sharing and distribution of World Cup prize money.

The fight for equal pay has been a defining storyline for the USWNT even while they dominated on the field for years. Fans chanted for equal pay during the 2019 World Cup in France, and it was discussed by a number of players during their championship celebration back in the United States.

The lawsuit was a significant step, and the team and U.S. Soccer reached a settlement in February that paid the women $24 million and required new labor agreements with the USWNT and USMNT.

This comes as the Red, White and Blue are focused on the 2023 World Cup, where they will attempt to become the first women's team to win the event three times in a row.