[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 153 (2007), Part 16]
[Pages 21920-21924]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

                  LILLY LEDBETTER FAIR PAY ACT OF 2007

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to section 2 of House Resolution 
579, proceedings will now resume on the bill (H.R. 2831) to amend title 
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in 
Employment Act of 1967, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 
and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to clarify that a discriminatory 
compensation decision or other practice that is unlawful under such 
Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the 
discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, and for other 
purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. When proceedings were postponed on Monday, 
July 30, 2007, 6 minutes remained in debate.
  The gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews) and the gentleman from 
California (Mr. McKeon) each control 3 minutes.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Madam Speaker, in order to speak in favor of this 
restoration of the law, I am pleased to acknowledge the majority leader 
of the House for 1 minute.
  Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman.
  Madam Speaker, when the Supreme Court wrongly decides a case, as they 
do from time to time, particularly when congressional intent is at 
issue, the United States Congress can and should act to remedy it. That 
is precisely what this carefully crafted measured legislation, the 
Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007, is designed to do.
  I thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews), and I thank the 
ranking member as well for the work that they do on this committee.
  Make no mistake. The Court's 5-4 decision on May 29 in Ledbetter v. 
Goodyear was wrongly decided. The merits of Lilly Ledbetter's wage 
discrimination claim seemed beyond doubt. A Federal jury agreed that 
she was discriminated against. The Equal Employment Opportunity 
Commission agreed with Ms. Ledbetter's claims, although the Bush 
administration switched its position once the case got to the Supreme 
  Most importantly, Lilly Ledbetter was paid less than all of her male 
counterparts, all of her male counterparts, even those who had less 
seniority. This clearly was not a case where her performance was 
suspect. Goodyear gave her a top performance award in 1996.
  The fact is, the Court majority took an extremely cramped view of the 
title VII of the Civil Rights Act, holding that Ms. Ledbetter and 
claimants like her must file their pay discrimination claims within 180 
days of the original discriminatory act. In other words, even if the 
discriminatory acts continued, every week, every biweek, every month, 
that they would have to look back to the original first check.
  There are at least three serious problems with the Court's flawed 
analysis. First, the unlawful discrimination against Ms. Ledbetter did 
not begin and end with Goodyear's original decision to pay her less 
than they paid her male counterparts.
  In fact, every paycheck that Lilly Ledbetter received after 
Goodyear's decision to pay her less was a continuing manifestation of 
Goodyear's illegal discrimination. As Justice Ginsburg said in dissent, 
each subsequent paycheck was ``infected'' by the original decision to 
unlawfully discriminate.
  Secondly, the Court dismissed the realities of the workplace far too 
casually. Detecting pay discrimination is not easy, and sometimes it 
may take years to uncover.
  Now, each of us in this body knows what the other Member of the body 
makes, but that is not true in almost every workplace in America. Why? 
Because people generally do not talk

[[Page 21921]]

openly with their coworkers about their salaries, raises and bonuses. 
In fact, many employers strive to keep such information confidential.
  Just consider, Ms. Ledbetter apparently did not become aware that she 
had been discriminated against until she received an anonymous letter 
alerting her to the discrimination.
  Third, the Court majority ignored its own holdings that Congress 
intended title VII, the majority ignored its own holdings that Congress 
intended title VII to have a broad, remedial purpose, to make persons 
whole for injuries suffered on accounts of unlawful employment 
  Finally, let me say that those who claim that this bill somehow 
eliminates the statue of limitations are incorrect. Under this bill, as 
we thought the law was for 30 years, an employee must still file a 
charge within the statutory filing period after receiving a 
discriminatory paycheck.
  This bill is fair, it is just, and it comports with the intent of 
this Congress in passing the Civil Rights Act.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bill, to make sure that what 
Congress intended is, in fact, what the law remains.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
  Madam Speaker, I would urge our colleagues in both the Republican and 
Democratic Parties to vote ``yes'' in favor of this bill.
  The opponents have raised two arguments. I believe both of them are 
  The first is that the bill repeals or eliminates the statute of 
limitations. This is not correct. What is, in fact, correct, is that 
once 180 days have passed from the final act of discrimination, the 
final tainted paycheck, then the plaintiff's claim would be barred.
  The second argument that has been raised by the opponents of the bill 
is that there would be a flood of litigation and a flood of claims that 
would vex employers across the country.
  This is not so. We are restoring the law as it has existed for more 
than three decades. During those three decades, there was no such flood 
or plague of litigation.
  This conclusion is borne out by the Congressional Budget Office, 
which, in analyzing the costs of this bill, concluded that there would 
be no appreciable increase in the number of claims filed with the EEOC.
  So, for these reasons and others, the arguments raised against the 
bill are invalid. Members should vote ``yes'' in favor of the bill.

                              {time}  1315

  Mr. McKEON. Madam Speaker, I yield myself the balance of the time.
  We have had a good debate last night and this morning, and the other 
side has tried to make this an emotional debate about discrimination, 
but that is not debate. We all, both Democrat and Republican, oppose 
  Madam Speaker, in Congress bad process usually makes for bad product. 
Let there be no mistake, the process that brought H.R. 2831 to the 
floor today was incredibly sloppy. Likewise, the product itself could 
not be sloppier. The title of this bill should be, ``The End of the 
Statute of Limitations.''
  This bill was hastily patched together by the Education and Labor 
Committee Democrats at the behest of the House majority leadership with 
the hope of grabbing a few headlines just a month after the Supreme 
Court's decision to uphold the 1964 Civil Rights Act statute of 
  Neither House Republicans nor many key outside stakeholders were 
consulted as the bill was drafted, and the bill was not considered at a 
single legislative hearing. Then, again, at the behest of the House 
Democrat leadership, the Rules Committee granted a completely closed 
rule, locking out nearly 400 Members from amending or even considering 
amendments for this legislation.
  Had this bill truly been a narrow fix, as its supporters would have 
the American people believe, this sloppy process may not have been such 
a problem. However, this is a major fundamental change to civil rights 
law and no less than four separate statutes.
  The last change to civil rights law of this magnitude, the 1991 Civil 
Rights Act, took 2 years of negotiation, debate, and bipartisan accord 
to accomplish. By comparison, this bill took just 2 months. It cheapens 
our legislative process and, indeed, it cheapens the work that has gone 
into decades of serious considerate civil rights lawmaking. The 
legislative product itself, as my Republican colleagues and I have 
discussed, is no less flawed. It guts the statute of limitations 
contained in current law and, in so doing, would allow an employee to 
bring a claim against an employer decades after the alleged initial act 
of discrimination occurred. And trial lawyers, you can be sure, are 
salivating at this prospect.
  Madam Speaker, this is a bad bill that is the result of an equally 
bad process. The President has threatened to veto it should it arrive 
at his desk, and rightfully so. But we should never let it get to that 
point. I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Madam Speaker, this is a narrow bill that supports a very broad 
principle. The broad principle is that discrimination has no place in 
the lives of Americans.
  This House has people working in it whose families came here who 
could not speak English but now their sons and daughters write the law. 
This House has people in it whose ancestors were brought here as slaves 
but now who write the law of the land. And this House has one person in 
it whose grandmother could not vote but who now is the woman who is 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. When we eliminate 
discrimination, great things happen in America. When we restore 
discrimination, America moves backwards.
  This country is bigger and stronger than the worst thoughts of any 
bigot. Discrimination has no place in our law, no place in our hearts, 
and no place because of technicalities. Vote ``yes'' in favor of 
restoring this strong tool against discrimination.
  Mr. HARE. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Lilly 
Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and commend my Chairman, Mr. Miller for his 
efforts to bring this legislation forward. The Supreme Court's decision 
in Ledbetter versus Goodyear was a setback for fundamental equal 
rights. As a Member of the Education and Labor Committee I am pleased 
that the House is standing up today for America's workers by 
essentially invalidating this misguided ruling.
  Mrs. Ledbetter's pay discrimination case was dismissed--not because 
she was not being discriminated against--but because the Supreme Court 
believed she filed her claim too late.
  Under this decision, employees in Ledbetter's position are forced to 
live with discriminatory paychecks for the rest of their careers. 
Moreover, the Court's decision ignores the realities of the workplace--
where employees generally do not know enough about what their co-
workers earn or how decisions regarding pay are' made to file a 
complaint precisely when discrimination first occurs.
  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would clarify that every paycheck 
resulting from a discriminatory pay decision constitutes a violation of 
the Civil Rights Act.
  When the Supreme Court sanctions discrimination through 
technicalities or misinterpretation, it is the job of Congress to 
clarify the intent of the law. We start this process today by passing 
the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I urge all my colleagues to vote for 
H.R. 2831.
  Mr. ENGEL. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2831, the 
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007. I regret that this legislation is 
even necessary in the 21st Century, but even today, we see instances of 
pay discrimination time and time again.
  The reason we are bringing this legislation to the Floor today is 
because unfortunately, activist judges on the U.S. Supreme Court have 
changed the rules to make it much, much harder for an employee 
suffering pay discrimination to bring his or her case to court.
  Prior to that case, an employee had 180 days from her previous 
paycheck to file a lawsuit for pay discrimination. However, five 
members of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Samuel Alito, changed 
those rules. Now, an employee has 180 days from the time of the 
decision to file a lawsuit.
  However, oftentimes it is extremely difficult to know when pay 
discrimination is occurring.

[[Page 21922]]

In the Supreme Court case under which the new rules were decided, Lilly 
Ledbetter filed her lawsuit because she was being paid far less than 
the lowest paid male employee holding the same position as hers. And 
she only found out about this because an anonymous person slipped her a 
note that showed her that fact.
  There was no way that Ms. Ledbetter could have known about her pay 
discrimination if she had not received this anonymous note. However, 
the five Supreme Court Justices decided that she could not sue because 
it had been more than 180 days since her employers had decided to pay 
her less than the men.
  This legislation is not only beneficial to employees, it is good for 
employers as well. With the current strict time limits, employees have 
more of an incentive to file lawsuits if they suspect discrimination, 
simply because if they delay their suit, they will give up their right 
to sue. It does not make sense to encourage people to sue before they 
have all the facts. We should ensure that we have a statute of 
limitations that makes sense.
  I have fought against pay discrimination since my first day in 
Congress. Discrimination of any kind should never be allowed, and I 
intend to keep fighting against it.
  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is commonsense legislation that 
should be enacted into law as we work to end discrimination at all 
  Madam Speaker, I strongly support H.R. 2831, and I would encourage 
all of my colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. CONYERS. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2831, the 
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007. Colleagues, I wish that I did not 
have to stand here today; I wish that we did not have to have this 
debate. However, in reversing decades of precedent and placing new 
limits on the ability of victims of pay discrimination to pursue their 
claims, the Supreme Court's May 29 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear 
makes our debate here today critically necessary to ensuring a better 
America for all of our citizens.
  Some on the other side of the aisle have complained that this 
legislation will dismantle the statute of limitations established by 
the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They maintain that this legislation will 
allow an employee to sue for pay discrimination resulting from an 
alleged discriminatory act that might have occurred 5, 10, 20, or even 
30 or more years earlier and that under H.R. 2831 a worker or retiree 
could seek damages against a company run by employees and executives 
that had nothing to do with the initial act of alleged discrimination 
that occurred dozens of years ago.
  These arguments represent nothing more than an attempt to muddy the 
waters. The reality is that Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act does nothing 
to disturb the current law's 180-day charge-filing period and employees 
continue to be subject to these time limits. Instead, the bill merely 
clarifies the conduct that triggers the running of the 180-day clock. 
Under the legislation, if an employee wants to challenge discriminatory 
pay, he or she must file within 180 days of the discriminatory conduct, 
such as the payment of a discriminatory wage. If the employee waits 
longer than 180 days after the discriminatory conduct, the 180-day 
clock will run out and a charge will become untimely.
  The fact of the matter is that pay discriminatory is often difficult 
to discover and takes place over many years. Many employers have 
policies explicitly forbidding employees from talking to one another 
about their pay. Workplace norms also discourage employees from asking 
each other about their pay. Additionally, discriminatory pay tends to 
have a cumulative effect--what may seem like a minor discrepancy at 
first builds up over time. By the time the discrimination is noticed, 
it would be too late to file a charge under the Supreme Court's ruling. 
These facts were undoubtedly the reason why a jury of her peers 
originally awarded Lilly Ledbetter more than $3.5 million; finding 
``more likely than not'' that sex discrimination during her 19-year 
career led to her being paid substantially less than her male 
  By passing this legislation here today, Congress will be heeding 
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's call to stand up and ensure that no 
American's income should be determined by race, sex, creed, color, or 
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Madam Speaker, as cosponsor of this 
legislation, I rise in strong support and urge my colleagues to join me 
in supporting the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
  This legislation corrects and clarifies a serious misinterpretation 
by the Supreme Court when it ruled earlier this year in the case of 
Ledbetter v. Goodyear.
  In that 5-4 decision, the majority ruled that Lilly Ledbetter, the 
lone female supervisor at a tire plant in Gadsden, AL, did not file her 
lawsuit against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in the timely manner 
specified by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  The court determined a victim of pay discrimination must file a 
charge within 180 days of the employer's decision to pay someone less 
for an unlawfully discriminatory reason, such as race, sex, religion, 
  Prior to the Supreme Court's ruling, the widely accepted rule in 
employment discrimination law was that every discriminatory paycheck 
was a new violation that restarts the 180-day clock.
  H.R. 2831 restores the law prior to the Supreme Court's Ledbetter 
decision, by clarifying that the clock for filing a discrimination 
charge starts when a discriminatory pay decision or practice is 
adopted, when a person becomes subject to the pay decision or practice, 
or when a person is affected by the pay decision or practice, including 
whenever she receives a discriminatory paycheck.
  The Supreme Court must not be able to roll back workers' rights in 
one ruling. Congress must pass this legislation to ensure workers are 
protected and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 2831.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support 
of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, HR 2831. Although women have made great 
strides towards income equality in the workplace, a gap still exists. 
According to the Census Bureau, women continue to make 77 cents to 
every dollar that their male counterparts earn. No one knows this fact 
better than Lilly Ledbetter. She worked hard at a Goodyear tire plant 
for 19 years. Initially, Ms. Ledbetter was paid the same as her male 
colleagues but over time her salary did not continue to rise at the 
same rate as male colleagues. However, like many employees, she was 
unaware of the discrepancy for years. By the time she discovered it, 
the Supreme Court said she was too late to receive justice, a finding 
that overturns 30 years of established case law.
  The Supreme Court held, that the plaintiff must file suit within 180 
days of the initial so called discrimination. This may seem like a 
reasonable amount of time, but for wage discrimination cases, this is 
often not feasible. Many employers forbid workers from discussing their 
salaries and employees are often not even aware that they have been 
discriminated against until after they leave their job. This finding 
stands in stark contrast with 30 years of case law, which has found 
that the 180 day ``clock'' starts anew with each discriminatory 
paycheck. This bill codifies by starting the clock for filing a 
discrimination charge starts when a discriminatory pay decision or 
practice is adopted, when a person becomes subject to the pay decision 
or practice, or when employees affected by the pay decision or 
practice, including whenever receive a discriminatory paycheck.
  During her testimony in June at an Education and Labor Committee 
hearing, Lilly Ledbetter said:

       What happened to me is not only an insult to my dignity, 
     but it had real consequences for my ability to care for my 
     family. Every paycheck I received, I got less than what I was 
     entitled to under the law.

  Sadly, Ms. Ledbetter's case is not unique, in fact from 2001-2006, 
some 40,000 wage discrimination cases were filed from workers, much 
like Lilly Ledbetter. This bill will finally give workers the ``what 
they are entitled to under the law''.
  I thank Chairman Miller and my colleagues for bringing this 
legislation to the floor so quickly.
  Mr. LEWIS of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 
2831, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007.
  The recent Supreme Court ruling in the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire 
case turns the clock back on decades of progress. As a result of this 
ruling it is now even more difficult for employees to exercise their 
rights for equal pay and equal treatment as determined under the law.
  This decision was based on a questionable technicality, not on the 
fact that Ms. Ledbetter was paid 20 percent less than even the least 
qualified of her male counterparts. Ms. Ledbetter did nothing wrong 
throughout the process. She toiled for 19 years and deserved equal pay 
and treatment by her employers.
  For centuries, women, minorities, and many others have fought for 
equal rights and consideration under the law. Congress is being forced 
to invoke its constitutional powers to restore balance and justice for 
the sake of equality. Today we send a strong message that 
discrimination and injustice on the basis of gender is intolerable.
  Simply said Madam Speaker, H.R. 2831 is not about turning back the 
clock on civil rights law; this legislation protects these hard-fought 
and hard-earned guarantees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women 
who work full time, earn, on average, only 77 cents for

[[Page 21923]]

every dollar men earn. The figures are even worse for women of color. 
Clearly, discrimination is not a relic of the past.
  I know that many, many Members of Congress recognize the importance 
of this legislation. I ask all of my colleagues to vote yes. I hope 
that the President will stand for equality and justice by signing this 
important bill.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2831, the 
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I want to thank the Chairman and Ranking 
Member for bringing this important bill to the House floor.
  H.R. 2831 is designed to be an important but narrow reversal of the 
Ledbetter decision, without upsetting any other current law. As many of 
us here today know, earlier this year, the Supreme Court decision 
Ledbetter versus Goodyear made it much harder for workers to pursue pay 
discrimination claims based on the fact that plaintiffs would need to 
file their charge of pay discrimination within 180 days of the 
employer's decision to pay them less.
  What was particularly disturbing about this decision was the fact 
that it stripped Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of its longstanding 
position that every paycheck resulting from an earlier discriminatory 
pay decision is considered a violation of the Civil Rights Act. The 
importance of this consideration of each and every paycheck is vital to 
the CRA.
  Furthermore, the Supreme Court decision was untenable. Employees 
often do not know what their co-workers earn, or how and when pay 
decisions are made. These dynamics in the workplace make it nearly 
impossible to file a complaint precisely when discrimination first 
occurs. Many times they find this out far after the fact, and thus need 
a filing deadline that takes this time delay into account.
  The bill before us today maintains the law's current statute of 
limitations and limits on back pay recovery. It states that an employee 
must still file a charge within the statutory filing period after 
receiving a discriminatory paycheck but would provide a realistic 
timeline consistent with the Civil Rights Act.
  Again, I thank the Chairman for bringing up this bill that calls 
attention to the fact that we need to make our pay discrimination laws 
work in a much more realistic and fair way for all parties involved.
  Mrs. BOYDA of Kansas. Madam Speaker, on May 29th, 2007, the Supreme 
Court ruled on Ledbetter vs. Goodyear. Lilly Ledbetter was a 19-year 
employee of the Goodyear Tire Plant in Gadsden, AL. After discovering a 
substantive wage gap between herself and her seemingly equal, male co-
workers, Ledbetter filed suit claiming gender wage discrimination. 
While Ledbetter won the case in a Federal court, Goodyear appealed and 
the case made it to the Supreme Court. In a thin margin, 5-4, the 
Supreme Court decided that Ledbetter had missed her legal window. Under 
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees have 180 days 
after an alleged act of discrimination takes place to file a complaint. 
While this 180-day deadline has commonly been interpreted to start over 
with each additional paycheck, the Supreme Court limited this right and 
claimed that only the first paycheck counts as the act of 
  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the four Supreme Court 
justices who disagreed with the ruling, and she called upon Congress to 
act. H.R. 2831, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is Congress's 
response. This bill will reverse this Supreme Court decision by making 
the original Congressional intent clear--renewing the 180-day deadline 
every time a worker receives a discriminatory paycheck. This 
strengthens measures to ensure paycheck fairness and to address unfair 
wage gaps through legal measures, as well as strengthens the rights of 
  This ruling is in blatant disregard of how the average employment 
environment functions. It means that unless employees discover a 
potentially discriminatory action within the first 180 days of their 
first paycheck, or last pay change, they have no legal ground to 
challenge it. This ruling was made with the assumption that new 
employees enter their workplace with a clear knowledge of what their 
coworkers earn and that more established employees already know the 
wages of their coworkers. This is not the case. Many employees do not 
feel comfortable talking about their wages in the workplace, or 
disputing their wages too soon after beginning a new job. Moreover, 
many workplaces discourage their employees from discussing their wages 
at all. Yet, if employees do discover that they have been discriminated 
against, and it's past the 180-day deadline, employers have legal 
  While I respect the Supreme Court, I believe that Justice Ginsburg 
was correct when she stated that the Court's decision ignored real-
world employment practices. This is not a gender issue; all employees 
should have an equal chance of getting a just wage.
  I believe that Congress must find a way to fix the problem that the 
Ledbetter decision poses for employees who have experienced 
discrimination. However, I do not believe that this bill was the best 
way to accomplish that. By not establishing any deadlines after the 
initial hire date, Congress has now gone too far; similar to the 
Supreme Court decision, they have ignored the realities of the average 
employment environment. I agree that employees need more time than 180 
days, but I also believe that employers need to be afforded some 
timeline as well. I hope to work with both women's organizations and 
businesses to find an equal balance--we owe both sides that degree of 
security about what our anti-discrimination laws mean.
  Mr. TIAHRT. Madam Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 2831, 
the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Although I join with all my 
colleagues in steadfast opposition to pay discrimination, this ill-
advised, over-reaching, and disingenuous overhaul of civil rights law 
is the wrong approach.
  Pay discrimination is not a partisan issue. Pay discrimination 
strikes at the heart of the American Dream. For more than 40 years, 
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act has made it illegal for 
employers to determine an employee's pay-scale based on his or her 
gender. I whole-heartedly agree and support this law. Every American 
should be able to work hard, play by the rules, and make a living for 
his or her family. We do not stand for gender discrimination in the 
  This legislation is bad politics rather than good policy. H.R. 2831 
was supposedly written to remedy a sad situation for one person--Lilly 
Ledbetter. She was apparently paid significantly less than her 
counterparts at Goodyear Tire Company during her tenure there. Decades 
later Ms. Ledbetter filed a claim of discrimination. Taking her claim 
through the courts, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on May 29, 2007, that 
the statute of limitations had unfortunately run out.
  Despite saying that H.R. 2831 simply restores prior law, by 
overturning a Supreme Court ruling against Ms. Ledbetter, in reality, 
Democrats will gut a decades-old statute of limitations that prevents 
the filing of ``stale'' claims and protects against abuse of the legal 
  Current law rightly provides a statute of limitations to file a 
discrimination claim, up to 300 days after the alleged workplace 
discrimination occurred. However, under this bill, employees or 
retirees could sue for pay discrimination years, even decades, after 
the alleged discrimination.
  How can a company defend itself when the accused offenders left the 
company decades before? The answer is--they can't. And that is exactly 
the answer desired by the trial lawyers who support this legislation. 
This legislation will not end pay discrimination, but it will certainly 
encourage frivolous claims and lawsuits. It is inevitable that under 
this legislation employees will sue companies for reasons that have 
little if anything to do with the accused discrimination.
  Not only is H.R. 2831 the wrong approach to deal with this serious 
issue, but this legislation also has the threat of a Presidential veto. 
A Presidential veto means there is no chance action will be taken on 
this important issue. If Democrats were serious about dealing with this 
issue, they would work with the President and Republicans to draft 
serious legislation rather than move forward with this political stunt.
  Madam Speaker, the issue of pay discrimination is too important to 
consider this poorly crafted, politically motivated piece of 
legislation. However, as much as we sympathize with Ms. Ledbetter, H.R. 
2831 is bad legislation for our Nation. Let us join together, work in a 
bipartisan manner, and craft legislation that addresses pay 
discrimination while not destroying decades-worth of solid employment 
discrimination law. Until then, I ask my colleagues to join with me in 
opposing this legislation.
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of 
H.R. 2831, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007, which will correct 
a gross injustice done in the recent Supreme Court decision in the case 
Ledbetter v. Goodyear.
  The Supreme Court's May 29, 2007, ruling in Ledbetter reversed 
decades of precedent that helped victims of pay discrimination to 
pursue claims against their employers. Under Title VII of the Civil 
Rights Act of 1964, employees illegally discriminated against in pay 
can file claims to recoup that pay within 180 days of being wrongfully 
denied pay. Unfortunately, the Ledbetter decision concluded that 
victims need to file claims within 180 days of a discriminatory 
decision being made, rather than within 180 days of receiving a 
discriminatory paycheck, as previous jurisprudence had mandated.

[[Page 21924]]

  It is wholly unreasonable to require individuals who are 
discriminated against to file suit within 180 days of the illegal 
action. Workplace norms mean that co-workers rarely ask each other 
about their pay. Moreover, one relatively small discriminatory decision 
can compound over time, meaning that decisions that are not immediately 
obvious can nevertheless have profound impacts over the course of an 
employee's career.
  Congress recognized 43 years ago with the passage of the Civil Rights 
Act of 1964 that it is wrong to treat people differently on the basis 
of their gender, religion or the color of their skin. The decision in 
Ledbetter v. Goodyear effectively eliminates the primary remedy for 
thousands of Americans who face illegal and immoral discrimination.
  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act provides a straightforward and 
efficient solution for the mistaken decision in Ledbetter. This bill 
simply clarifies that each discriminatory paycheck qualifies as a new 
violation that gives employees 180 days to file claims to recover pay. 
This policy has been the law of the land for the last 43 years, has 
worked well and should be reinstated.
  For over four decades, the United States Federal Government has made 
it clear that discrimination on the basis of one's race, gender, or 
religion will not be tolerated. It is our responsibility to do 
everything in our power to ensure that all employees are treated fairly 
and respectfully, and this bill is an important step forward in that 
direction. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation and I 
commend my colleague and friend, Mr. George Miller of California, for 
introducing the bill.
  Ms. McCOLLUM of Minnesota. Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong 
support of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to restore important 
protections for victims of pay discrimination.
  On May 29, 2007, in a 5-4 ruling the Supreme Court issued a decision 
in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear making it much more difficult for 
workers discriminated against on the basis of sex, race, color, 
religion, national origin, or age to sue their employers because of 
disparate pay.
  In this decision, the Court ruled that Lilly Ledbetter, a former 
supervisor at a tire plant in Alabama, was not eligible to receive back 
pay for pay discrimination because she had not filed her claim within 
180 days after the first ``unlawful employment practice occurred.''
  However, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg highlighted in her dissent, 
pay discrimination occurs over time in small increments and is 
frequently not discovered for many years. It is more than disappointing 
that this decision increases the barriers to fair compensation for 
victims of pay discrimination.
  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, of which I am a cosponsor, will 
allow pay discrimination claims to be filed within 180 days of the 
issuance of any discriminatory paycheck, not necessarily the first 
paycheck as the Supreme Court ruled. This legislation restores the 
previously established interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights 
  H.R. 2831 makes it clear to employers and employees alike that pay 
discrimination is unacceptable. It is unacceptable from the moment the 
first discriminatory paycheck is issued until the day that worker 
receives the compensation s/he earned.
  Madam Speaker, pay discrimination is unjust and it is illegal. I urge 
my colleagues to join me in supporting fairness for working families 
and voting for H.R. 2831.
  Mr. ANDREWS. I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 579, the previous question is ordered on 
the bill, as amended.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.