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Grassley backs equal pay for women soccer champions

Sen. Chuck Grassley answers a question during a town hall at the Independence Public Library in Independence, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. The meeting with his constituents is part of his 99-county tour of the state. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Sen. Chuck Grassley answers a question during a town hall at the Independence Public Library in Independence, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. The meeting with his constituents is part of his 99-county tour of the state. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — U.S. Women’s National Team players deserve equal pay, especially after winning another soccer World Cup, Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday.

The Iowa Republican might even go so far as to say they deserve to be paid more than members of the Men’s National Team based on their performance.

“You know, I might have some different opinions on equal pay than some of the proposals floating around Capitol Hill,” Grassley said during his weekly conference call with reporters. “But there’s no place where equal pay is more justified in sports, where the results of what you accomplish and your own individual qualifications are on display in a competitive environment.”

The women’s team, which won the World Cup in France on Sunday, have “proven their case pretty well, not only this year,” he said about their four championships in eight World Cup competitions.

The women’s team has sued to get equal pay, and in the wake of their performance a number of politicians, including 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, have joined their cause.

However, the men’s and women’s teams have negotiated contracts that pay them based on different criteria. A contract player on the women’s team makes a base salary and can earn performance-based bonuses. Members of the men’s team earn only bonuses based on wins, losses and other factors.

Grassley was hesitant to say the women should be paid more because they brought home another championship, but he didn’t rule it out.

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“I don’t know if that’s the best way to make a judgment,” he said. “At this point, the amount of income they are producing, the amount of attention they get and the success they have, would justify that.”

• Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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