Cantwell, Capito Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Guarantee Equal Pay for American Athletes Competing on the Global Stage

July 16, 2019

U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV) today introduced their bipartisan plan to ensure equal pay for Americans who represent our country in global athletic competitions, like the World Cup or the Olympics. Currently, men and women can be paid differently for representing Team USA in the same sport. 

“When American athletes represent our country on the worldwide stage, they deserve to be compensated equally – because a gold medal is a gold medal, no matter your gender,” Senator Cantwell said. “The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team has done so much to raise this issue, but it impacts top athletes in every sport. It’s time for us to work together to right this wrong and get this done.”

“The skill and success of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team at this year’s World Cup evoked a tremendous sense of pride and excitement in our country, but their performance also served as a reminder that women representing our country in global athletic competitions do not receive the kind of pay or benefits their male counterparts do,” said Senator Capito, a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “While this is currently a very visible and talked about issue, it’s not a new one; and it’s time that we made sure all athletes representing our country on the global stage are equally compensated. As a woman, a sports fan, and the mother of a female athlete, I’m proud to join with Senator Cantwell on this bipartisan legislation.”

The Equal Pay for Team USA Act, pursuant to the Commerce Committee's jurisdiction over the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), would require that all athletes representing the United States in global athletic competitions receive equal compensation and benefits for their work, regardless of gender. Cantwell and Capito’s legislation also requires equal payment for medical care, travel, and expenses. 

The bill applies to 50 different sports national governing bodies, and it requires the USOC to conduct oversight to make sure they all come into compliance with the legislation.

You can read the full text of Senator Cantwell and Senator Capito’s bipartisan plan HERE