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Even the most conservative Democratic senator is stepping into the equal pay fray.
On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) introduced a bill that echoes the U.S. women's soccer team's call for equal pay. It mandates that before any federal funds are directed toward the 2026 men's World Cup, which is slated to be held in the U.S., the women's team will have to receive "equitable pay," a statement from Manchin explains.
Manchin's bill comes just a few days after the U.S. women's soccer team swept its way to a second straight World Cup championship. But that big win was also prefaced by major controversy, namely the team's gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation that alleges they receive far less money than the men's team despite producing superior results. Manchin addressed that in his Tuesday statement, but mainly cited a letter from West Virginia University's women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown as his reasoning for introducing the bill.
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The bill withholds all federal funding 2026 men's World Cup preparations, including anything that would've gone to host cities, the USSF, and FIFA, among other organizations. Those blocked funds won't be released "until the U.S. Soccer Federation agrees to provide equitable pay to the men's and women's national teams," Manchin's statement continued. Find the whole bill here.