The House Judiciary Committee Just Advanced an ERA Resolution

The House Judiciary Committee today marked up H.J. Res 79, a resolution that would eliminate the time limit for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

A young girl with her mother at an International Women’s Day ERA Rally at the Capitol in St Paul, Minnesota. (Lorie Shaull / Creative Commons)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the resolution for markup today at a hearing on Capitol Hill. The bill, which removes the time limit for ratification, was originally introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) in January of 2019 and has rapidly gained momentum in the days since a pro-ERA majority was elected in Virginia. After last week’s statewide elections in Virginia, state legislators have pledged to bring the ERA to the Virginia Assembly for passage in early 2020, making it the 38th and final state necessary for ratification. 

With the Virginia state legislature poised to ratify the ERA in early 2020, the U.S. House is moving to register its support. The ERA has overwhelming support in public opinion polls today. Finally: The ERA is in the homestretch, and political leaders are rushing to support it—not only in Washington, but nationwide.

This is long overdue. The ERA was written by women’s suffragist Alice Paul in 1923. After the House passed the ERA in 1971 and the Senate followed suit in 1972, it was sent to the states for ratification.

The need for equal protection under the Constitution is still as urgent as ever today as it was when the ERA first went to the states for ratification in 1972, which is why feminists have never stopped working to get three-fourths of the states to ratify.

That day is now swiftly approaching, thanks to the leadership of Reps. Nadler, Speier and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), as well as Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), who introduced a companion resolution in the Senate.

About

Eleanor Smeal is president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and publisher of Ms. She appears frequently on television and radio, testifies before Congress on a wide variety of women’s issues and speaks to diverse audiences nationwide on a broad range of feminist topics. For over two decades, she has played a leading role in both national and state campaigns to win women’s rights legislation and in a number of landmark state and federal court cases for women’s rights.