House Votes To Revive Equal Rights Amendment, Removing Ratification Deadline

NPR.org | 2/13/2020 | Staff
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks Wednesday at a press conference ahead of the House's vote to remove the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment.

The U.S. House has voted to remove the deadline on ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in an attempt to revive the amendment. The 232-183 vote fell largely along party lines with five Republicans supporting the measure and zero Democrats opposing it.

Deadline - Part - Route - ERA - Proponents

Changing the deadline is a key part of one route that some ERA proponents believe would lead to the amendment becoming a part of the Constitution, but the path forward is uncertain.

The proposed amendment says simply, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex," and it has had a renaissance in recent years, with three states ratifying it since 2017.

Bill - Vote

However, the bill may well be stymied after this vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said earlier this month that he's "personally not a supporter" of the amendment, and the Trump administration's Office of Legal Counsel has said that it considers the ERA "expired."

Addition - Consensus - Congress - Deadline - Way

In addition, there isn't legal consensus that Congress can remove the deadline in this way.

The amendment, proposed in 1972, originally had a ratification deadline of 1979 attached to it. Congress later bumped that out to 1982, but by then, only 35 states had ratified it. Thirty-eight states need to ratify in order for a proposal to become an amendment.

Illinois - Nevada - Amendment - Years - January

Illinois and Nevada ratified the amendment in recent years, and in January, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify.

But the deadline has never been further extended beyond 1982. The bill passed by the House on Thursday would retroactively remove that deadline.

Supporters - Removal - Amendment - Part - Constitution

Supporters argue that removal would allow the amendment to become a part of the Constitution.

In floor speeches Thursday morning,...
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