Problem Solvers Endorse Bill to Establish Smithsonian Women’s History Museum
WASHINGTON – The Problem Solvers Caucus on Thursday endorsed H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, which will establish a new women’s history museum on the Mall in Washington, as a part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Twenty-four Democrats and 24 Republican members of the Caucus, led by co-chairs Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Tom Reed, R-N.Y., formally endorsed the bill, which was introduced in the House by Representatives Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.
The Museum will showcase the invaluable contributions women have made to the United States throughout its history in every professional field and sector of society.
Companion legislation, S. 959, was introduced in the Senate by Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
“I’m incredibly proud that the Problem Solvers Caucus has come together in support of this important legislation,” Representative Gottheimer said. “It is high time that the critical history and work of women are fully recognized, promoted, exhibited, and celebrated within one of our country’s most important cultural institutions.”
Reed said supporting the bill was particularly important to him, the youngest of 12 children raised by a single mother after the death of his father.
Given that personal experience, Reed said, “I understand and care about the power women have had and continue to hold on shaping our nation.
“The Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act will memorialize generations of brave and intelligent women who deserve to be recognized in American history,” he said.
Despite these sentiments, the bill was a long time coming according to its primary sponsor.
“It is astonishing how hard it is to get things done for women in Washington, D.C.,” Representative Maloney said.
“It took nearly 20 years to pass a bill just to create a Congressional Commission to study whether a museum should be built. That bipartisan Commission unanimously concluded that the country wants, needs and deserves a women’s history museum,” she said.
Maloney went on to thank the Problem Solvers Caucus for endorsing the bill, which she noted now has 275 bipartisan cosponsors.
“There is no reason this bill should not be supported by every member of the House and Senate. Women are half the population. This is not about politics or partisanship. This is about giving women – all women – their rightful place in history,” she said.
During a press conference announcing the Problem Solvers endorsement on Thursday, the lawmakers noted that only five percent of the approximately 2,400 national monuments honor women.
“As the first museum in the United States dedicated to the full story of women’s history, this museum will tell the diverse story of the women who helped shape America,” Representative Fitzpatrick said. “It is time for Congress to authorize the creation of a National Women’s History Museum and I’m proud to stand with the Problem Solvers Caucus in support of this bipartisan legislation.”
That call for a quick passage of the bill had particular resonance for Representative Susie Lee, who along with Representative Fitzpatrick, spearheaded the effort to secure the Problem Solvers’ endorsement.
“I entered office as part of the largest class of women to ever be elected to Congress and there’s no better time than during this Congress to pass the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act and celebrate the accomplishments of half of this country’s population,” Representative Lee said.
“Every American should learn the complete story and the integral role women have played in shaping our country,” she added.