Senate Petitioned for Hearings on Pay Differences Between Men's, Women's Sports

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 11, 2019

TOPSHOT - USA women's soccer player Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe (C), Alexandra Long(R) and other team members celebrate with the trophy in front of the City Hall after the ticker tape parade for the women's World Cup champions on July 10, 2019 in New York. - Tens of thousands of fans are poised to pack the streets of New York on Wednesday to salute the World Cup-winning US women's team in a ticker-tape parade. Four years after roaring fans lined the route of Lower Manhattan's fabled
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Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Jacky Rosen have petitioned Sen. Roger Wicker, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, "to hold a hearing in the Committee on the significant issue of pay disparity between men's and women's sports in the United States."

The petition comes after calls for equal pay between the United States men's and women's national soccer teams have grown louder after the women's side went 7-0 in the World Cup en route to their fourth title since 1991.

A press release (h/t John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal) from Sen. Rosen announced the news and also made public the letter sent to Sen. Wicker, which stated in part:

"Despite the women team's extraordinary success, reports have highlighted the fact that USWNT players have made only 38 percent of what players on the USMNT earned in previous years, and recent reports have made clear that disparities still persist," Sens. Klobuchar and Rosen wrote.

"Meanwhile, despite the U.S. Soccer Federation's assertions that the pay differential is based on difference in aggregate revenue generated by the two teams, the USWNT actually generated $900,000 more in revenue than the USMNT from fiscal year (FY) 2016 to FY 2018, according to an analysis by the Washington Post."

Klobuchar, who is from Minnesota, is also a Democratic presidential candidate. Rosen is a Democratic junior senator from Nevada. 

The duo further highlighted pay disparities in other sports:

"The gender pay gap is not limited to soccer ... Last year in the Women's National Basketball Association, the maximum veteran player salary was $115,500, while the men in the National Basketball Association earned a minimum salary of $582,180."

Sens. Klobuchar and Rosen also stated that women's tennis players are paid 80 cents on the dollar to men and that the United States women's hockey team was given just $1,000 per month during a six-month Olympic residency period.

Rosen and Klobuchar aren't the only Senators looking to close the pay gap: Of note, Sen. Joe Manchin proposed a bill to Congress whereas federal government funding for the 2026 men's World Cup would be blocked until the men's and women's national soccer teams received equal pay. That tournament will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and America.

Numerous Democratic presidential candidates have also been outspoken about the issue, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris.

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