On the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, Cantwell-Championed Equal Pay Bill Moves One Step Closer to Law

Legislation ensures all Team USA athletes—regardless of gender—receive equal pay and benefits in global competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, approved the bipartisan S.2333 Equal Pay for Team USA Act of 2021, yesterday. The legislation advanced just ahead of today’s 50th anniversary of Title IX. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Committee, introduced the bill which would ensure equal pay for all Americans who represent our country in global athletic competitions, like the Olympics, regardless of gender.

“I can think of no more appropriate way to pay tribute to the legacy of Title IX and all it has done for women and girls’ to participate in sports over the last 50 years than to pass this bipartisan bill on the eve of its 50th anniversary,” said Sen. Cantwell. “The bill we are voting on represents months of work with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, advocates, and bipartisan colleagues, to ensure that men and women competing internationally for Team USA receive equal compensation, benefits, medical care, travel and coverage of expenses.”

The bipartisan Equal Pay for Team USA Act would require that all athletes representing the United States in global amateur athletic competitions receive equal compensation and benefits for their work, regardless of gender. It also would require equal payment for medical care, travel and expenses.

The bill applies to 50 different sports’ national governing bodies, and it requires the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to conduct oversight and report on compliance with the legislation.

In July 2019, Sen. Cantwell held press conference with U.S. Women’s National Team Captain, Megan Rapinoe, and introduced similar legislation to ensure equal pay for American athletes who represent team USA in global athletic competitions.

In February 2022, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team settled their longstanding gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, receiving $24 million in back pay and compensation.

In May 2022, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team reached a landmark agreement ensuring that U.S. Women’s and U.S. Men’s soccer players will receive equal compensation when competing in international matches and competitions. As of now, this agreement would expire in 2028.

Sens. Cantwell (D-WA) and Capito (R-WV) introduced the bipartisan legislation in July 2021. Sens. Klobuchar (D-MN), and Lummis (R-WY) are also co-sponsors.

Sen. Cantwell has been a consistent advocate for gender equity in athletics. Sen. Cantwell cosponsored the Gender Equity in Education Act in the 117th, 116th, and 115th Congresses. As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. Cantwell led multiple hearings on NCAA athletes’ rights and protections.

In 2020, Cantwell introduced a bipartisan resolution honoring women athletes and in 2017, Cantwell repeatedly fought back against Trump administration attempts to eliminate Title IX protections.

A list of organizations supporting the Equal Pay for Team USA Act is available HERE.

Read the full bill text HERE.