Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., took a legislative stand Tuesday in the quest for equal pay for the U.S. Women's National Team.
Manchin introduced a bill that would prevent "any and all" federal funding for the 2026 World Cup – the men's tournament that the U.S. is scheduled to host – unless the U.S. Soccer Federation agrees to pay its men's and women's teams equally.
"The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team latest victory is causing public outcry," Manchin said in a statement. "I’m encouraging everyone to call their Senator and Representatives to help us get this bill passed and finally pay the equitable pay they deserve."
Federal funds will be necessary for the tournament, between host cities asking for financial aid to provide proper infrastructure and security and the State Department coordinating international travel for FIFA officials, for example.
United States forward Megan Rapinoe hoists the World Cup trophy and celebrates with teammates after defeating the Netherlands. (Photo: Michael Chow, USA TODAY Sports)
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The issue of unequal pay, a question that President Donald Trump has punted on, came to the forefront once again during the USWNT's run to a fourth World Cup title this month.
Per the Huffington Post, Manchin's attention toward the issue was spurred by a letter to the senator from West Virginia University women's soccer head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown detailing the unfairness in the pay disparities.
Megan Rapinoe has been a leading voice on the issue and spoke about the topic Monday when the U.S. team returned stateside.
"[The pay] certainly should be more," Rapinoe said. "I think there needs to be a big invest made in the women’s game. God forbid, for once, we be overpaid."
The women's team earns less base pay from the federation and also makes less from their World Cup success, despite performing better than the men's side in recent tournaments. Additionally, according to the Wall Street Journal, the women generate more revenue than the men.
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