Congress Debates Proposal to Remove Approval Deadline for ERA

February 11, 2020 by Tom Ramstack
Congress Debates Proposal to Remove Approval Deadline for ERA
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.”

A+
a-
  • Congress
  • Equal Rights Amendment
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    In The News

    June 12, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Environmental Investors Accused in Congress of Hurting US Economy

    WASHINGTON — Debate over the devastation of climate change was back in Congress Wednesday, this time about when responsible environmental... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Debate over the devastation of climate change was back in Congress Wednesday, this time about when responsible environmental investing tramples the finances of businesses accused of polluting. A House Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on how environmental activists use their political power to pressure... Read More

    June 12, 2024
    by TWN Staff
    The Well News Garners First Place Award for Business Writing

    WASHINGTON — The Well News took first place in the Online Business Writing category Tuesday night at the D.C. Chapter... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The Well News took first place in the Online Business Writing category Tuesday night at the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Dateline Awards for journalism excellence ceremony. The Well News garnered top honors in the category for a piece on... Read More

    Supreme Court Has Lots of Work to Do and Little Time to Do It With a Sizable Case Backlog

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is headed into its final few weeks with nearly half of the cases heard this year... Read More

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is headed into its final few weeks with nearly half of the cases heard this year still undecided, including ones that could reshape the law on everything from guns to abortion to social media. The justices are also still weighing whether former... Read More

    June 11, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Federal Judge Tosses Florida Ban on Gender-Affirming Care

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida law banning gender-affirming health care for transgender minors and restricting access to care for some... Read More

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida law banning gender-affirming health care for transgender minors and restricting access to care for some transgender adults is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. The law, which was signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in May of last year, barred doctors... Read More

    June 11, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Trump to Return to Capitol Hill Thursday to Rally Lawmakers

    WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump will be on Capitol Hill Thursday for separate meetings to rally House and Senate... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump will be on Capitol Hill Thursday for separate meetings to rally House and Senate Republicans in the wake of his recent conviction in the New York hush-money trial while laying out his vision for a possible second term in the... Read More

    June 11, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Democrats Criticize Republican-Inspired Vote on Contempt for Attorney General

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are blasting Republicans ahead of their planned vote this week in the House to hold U.S.... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are blasting Republicans ahead of their planned vote this week in the House to hold U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt. Garland has refused to turn over audio tapes of Special Counsel Robert Hur's interview with President Joe Biden about classified... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top