President Obama hands a pen to Rep. George Miller after signing Ledbetter bill

Obama Signs Ledbetter Wage Discrimination Bill

President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law this morning, making the first major piece of legislation signed into law during his presidency. The U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 181 two days ago, after it passed the U.S. Senate by a 61-36 vote last week.

Obama handed the signing pen to U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. and chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, as Lilly Ledbetter watched. Miller had spearheaded the bill's passage. It overturns a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said a female former Goodyear supervisor could not sue for wage discrimination after being paid 20 percent less than men doing the same job because she had not filed her suit within 180 days after the company first acted in a discriminatory manner. The bill instead allows aggrieved workers to sue after the most recent discriminatory payment received, not the first one.

"I am proud that the first major piece of legislation signed by President Obama reaffirms the basic and fundamental American value of equal pay for equal work," Miller said in a statement today. "Unfortunately, the outrageous employment practice of paying workers differently based on prejudice was sanctioned by a sorely misguided Supreme Court decision in May 2007 and demanded immediate attention."

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