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Obama Looks to Bridge Pay Gap With Executive Order

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U.S. President Barack Obama is flanked by Lilly Ledbetter (L) and other women while signing an executive order banning federal contractors from retaliating against employees during an event in the East Room of the White House on April 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama announced that his administration will strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama is flanked by Lilly Ledbetter (L) and other women while signing an executive order banning federal contractors from retaliating against employees during an event in the East Room of the White House on April 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama announced that his administration will strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — In honor of National Equal Pay Day, President Barack Obama signed an executive order Tuesday prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation.

The President also signed a Presidential Memorandum instructing the Secretary of Labor to require federal contractors to submit employee compensation data, including a gender and race breakdown, to the Department of Labor.

According to CBS News, federal contractors employ about a quarter of the nation’s workforce.

The announcement of these initiatives comes just over two months after Obama raised the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors.

At a news conference to discuss the reasoning behind the initiatives, the President stressed the fact that women, on average, make 77 cents for every dollar her male counterpart earns.

“Pay secrecy fosters discrimination, and we shouldn’t tolerate that,” he said. “…I’ve got two daughters, and I expect them to be treated just like anybody’s sons.”

Also this week, the Senate considers the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand upon the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

Obama urged lawmakers to pass the bill, which has already failed twice in Congress.

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