Politics

Joe Manchin’s Empty Gesture To Require Fair Pay For The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team


Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at requiring fair pay for players on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.

His bill would prohibit the use of any federal money for the men’s 2026 World Cup, which is being co-hosted by the United States, unless the U.S. Soccer Federation agrees to provide equitable pay to the women’s and men’s national teams. The U.S. women’s team, which has won the last two World Cups and is the favorite in this summer’s Olympics, is part of a years-long lawsuit demanding equal pay to the men’s team.

Manchin introduced the same bill in 2019. It went nowhere. His new bill won’t go anywhere, either. He knows that.

It’s because his bill only has support from Democrats. Even though his party narrowly controls the Senate ― it’s evenly divided at 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tie-breaker ― the filibuster requires 60 votes to advance any bill. Those extra 10 Republicans are nowhere to be found for Manchin’s bill, and he is one of the few in his party opposed to getting rid of the filibuster.

So, his bill won’t advance.

Ironically, Manchin introduced his bill a day after Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill aimed at addressing the country’s gender pay gap more broadly. House Democrats passed that bill in April along party lines.

In a Wednesday statement, Manchin lamented that Republicans killed the Paycheck Fairness Act, but touted his bill about fair pay for female soccer players ― despite knowing that both measures are effectively dead because of the filibuster, which he is fighting to keep in place.

“This was a commonsense bill and I am disappointed we were unable to come together to support equal pay for all,” Manchin said of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

“The first vote I took as a senator was to support paycheck fairness, and to this day, I am proud to lead the fight for equal pay across all workplaces, including the soccer field,” he continued. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense bill to ensure a level playing field for everyone, including our top-notch U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.”

Manchin’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the reality that his bill is likely going nowhere because of the filibuster, which he continues to support keeping in place.

The filibuster isn’t just preventing Democrats from passing bills related to the gender pay gap or the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Democrats are desperately trying to pass the For The People Act, a sweeping voting rights and elections reform package aimed at countering a surge of GOP-led state legislatures enacting new voter suppression laws.

This year, GOP state lawmakers have already introduced at least 389 bills restricting voting access in 49 states and passed 22 such laws in 14 states. They are justifying the need for these bills by echoing the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, and making the case that these bills will protect against voter fraud. (Data shows that voter fraud is an infinitesimally small problem in the U.S.)

In reality, the bills are aimed at preventing people from voting and they primarily target communities of color. It’s no coincidence that the four states where Republicans have filed the most bills aimed at restricting voting — Georgia, Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania — are all states Joe Biden won by slim margins. 

House Democrats passed the For The People Act in March, almost entirely along party lines. In the Senate, 49 of 50 Democrats are co-sponsors of the bill. Manchin is the only holdout. He said last week that he won’t support the bill because it isn’t bipartisan. He also reiterated that he is firmly opposed to changing filibuster rules.

That means the For The People Act is effectively dead. So is the Paycheck Fairness Act. So is Manchin’s bill to require fair pay for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.

And despite whatever spin you put on it, so is virtually every other bill that Manchin or any Democrat puts forward that can’t clear a filibuster.




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