facebook linkedin twitter

Congress Debates Proposal to Remove Approval Deadline for ERA

February 11, 2020 by Tom Ramstack
Equal Rights Amendment supporter Donna Granski, right, from Midlothian Va., cheers the passage of the House ERA Resolution in the Senate chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. The resolution passed 27-12. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON – The House split along party lines Monday during a hearing that could help add the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution within weeks.

Both the House and Senate are considering resolutions that would remove the deadline for states to ratify the amendment that guarantees women’s rights.

The Equal Rights Amendment won quick approval after it was introduced in Congress in 1972. The amendment says, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

The only remaining requirement was ratification by 38, or three-fourths, of the states.

Virginia became the 38th state to ratify it last month. However, the deadline set by Congress for ratification expired 37 years earlier.

Democrats who spoke during a House Rules Committee hearing Monday said the deadline should not be a barrier if the required number of states ratified the amendment.

Republicans disagreed, saying Congress has no constitutional authority to override the deadline. Some of them also warned the Equal Rights Amendment could extend abortion rights beyond the will of many states.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House Rules Committee, said, “There has undoubtedly been progress made on women’s rights over the years.”

However, without the kind of assurances offered by the Equal Rights Amendment, “Those rights could be chipped away,” he said.

Like other Democrats, McGovern supports eliminating the deadline that is holding up the amendment.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, accused Democrats of violating the laws they are supposed to uphold.

“This is a highly unusual and unconstitutional action for the House to take,” Cole said about the resolution.

Deadlines have been set commonly by Congress when previous amendments were proposed.

“They’re attempting to perform an end-run around the Constitution,” Cole said about the Democrats.

He added, “There are 20 members of Congress who weren’t even born when the deadline passed.”

Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican, largely agreed with Cole, saying, “Congress does not have the power to do that. That’s the bottom line problem here.”

He called the Equal Rights Amendment “a failed constitutional amendment.” The only way it could legally be revived is if it is reintroduced in Congress, he said.

“You have to start the process again,” Collins said.

He also warned that the way it is worded would broadly expand abortion rights, which could include overriding conflicting state laws.

“We must protect the most defenseless humans among us,” he said about abortion.

The resolution to remove the ratification deadline was introduced by U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, days after Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

“Virginia’s historic vote to be the crucial 38th state needed to ratify the ERA proves there is no expiration date on equality, and this issue is just as salient as ever,” Speier said in a statement. “For survivors of sexual violence, pregnancy discrimination, unequal pay, and more, the fight for equal justice under the law can’t wait any longer.”

In The News

Health

Voting

In The News

July 28, 2021
by Kate Michael
Former Intelligence Officials on the ‘Deteriorating’ Situation in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON -- Had President Biden sought Gen. David Petraeus’s advice on the Allied troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, he has made... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Had President Biden sought Gen. David Petraeus’s advice on the Allied troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, he has made no secret of that fact he would have advised against it, even though the general admits the goals from engaging in 2001 have largely been met. ... Read More

July 28, 2021
by Victoria Turner
An Act for All New Mothers

Concerned with Black mothers’ increasing maternal death rates in the U.S., members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus introduced the... Read More

Concerned with Black mothers’ increasing maternal death rates in the U.S., members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus introduced the Black Maternal Health Omnibus Act of 2021 to cover every phase of the maternal health crisis. The act should benefit all new U.S. mothers, who are... Read More

July 28, 2021
by Dan McCue
DOJ Issues ‘Guidance’ Docs for States on Federal Election Laws

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department released two guidance documents Wednesday intended to ensure states fully comply with federal election laws,... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department released two guidance documents Wednesday intended to ensure states fully comply with federal election laws, specifically those statutes pertaining to methods of voting and constraints on post-election audits. “The right of all eligible citizens to vote is the central pillar of... Read More

July 28, 2021
by Dan McCue
Senators Say They’ve Struck Deal on $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of senators who have been negotiating for weeks on an infrastructure bill since forging an... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of senators who have been negotiating for weeks on an infrastructure bill since forging an alliance with the White House say they’ve reached a deal on the “major issues” and can now move forward. “I think we’re good to go,” Sen.... Read More

July 28, 2021
by Dan McCue
Census Bureau to Release Redistricting Data Beginning Aug. 16

WASHINGTON -- The Census Bureau will release redistricting data to the states in two formats beginning on Aug. 16. The... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The Census Bureau will release redistricting data to the states in two formats beginning on Aug. 16. The first release will be geared for what the agency calls “experienced data users,” with a second, easier to use release of the same data planned for... Read More

July 28, 2021
by Dan McCue
States to Fight Dismissal of Antitrust Lawsuit Against Facebook

WASHINGTON -- Attorneys general from 45 states, the District of Columbia and Guam served notice on Wednesday that they are... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Attorneys general from 45 states, the District of Columbia and Guam served notice on Wednesday that they are appealing a federal judge’s decision to throw out their antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. “We filed this notice of appeal because we disagree with the court’s decision... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top