House passes bill requiring equal pay for Team USA athletes

Megan Rapinoe
FILE – United States soccer women’s national team member Megan Rapinoe speaks during an event to mark Equal Pay Day in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Washington. The House has passed a bill that ensures equal compensation for U.S. women competing in international events, a piece of legislation that came out of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s long battle to be paid as much as the men. The Equal Pay for Team USA Act, passed late Wednesday night, Dec. 21, 2022, now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Evan Vucci/AP

House passes bill requiring equal pay for Team USA athletes

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The House passed a bill Thursday that would require equal compensation for all athletes competing on Team USA, marking a landmark victory for female athletes competing internationally in over 50 national sports.

The Equal Pay for Team USA Act would require all athletes representing the United States in international competitions to receive equal compensation and benefits that would help with medical care, travel, and expenses. The legislation unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month and will now head to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

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“The Equal Pay for Team USA Act erases any ambiguity, setting the standard that — when it comes to pay, medical care, travel arrangements and reimbursement of expenses for players of the same sport — nothing short of equal is acceptable, regardless of gender,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said in a statement.

The Equal Pay for Team USA Act was introduced in 2019 after the women’s national soccer team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay. The lawsuit was settled in February for $24 million.

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The women’s soccer team officially signed the collective bargaining agreement in September, ensuring equal pay through identical economic terms over the next six years.

“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,” President of the U.S. Soccer Federation Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement.

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