This morning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jackie Speier, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and a host of other members of Congress held a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s vote on H.J.Res. 79 to remove the arbitrary timeline put in the preamble to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

Carol Jenkins spoke for the ERA Coalition as leaders of other prominent women’s groups stood behind Speaker Pelosi. These groups included the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, the YWCA, VARatifyERA, the American Association of University Women, Delta Sigma Theta, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and the League of Women Voters among others.

“…We will observe the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote and the ERA is still not enshrined in the Constitution. As a result women still face inequality under the law: from the wage gap, pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment and again resulting in women being underrepresented at the table. With this resolution, we take a giant step toward equality for women, progress for families, and a stronger America because we know when women succeed, America succeeds,” declared Speaker Pelosi.

Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA in January. It is timely for Congress to remove the timeline that only exists in the preamble to the ERA, not in the text of the amendment which the states have voted to ratify. The last amendment was placed in the Constitution some 200 years after it was first sent to the states for ratification.

“Our message here today is quite simple,” said Rep. Speier while holding up a pocket sized copy of the U.S. Constitution. “We want in.”

“The amendment starts with these words: ‘equality of rights under the law’ which is a simple matter of justice,” stated Rep. Carolyn Maloney. “It’s that simple.”

“There can be no time limit on equality, “said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority.  “We applaud Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Chief Sponsor Rep. Jackie Speier, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney for moving forward the resolution to remove the arbitrary time limit in the preamble to the Equal Rights Amendment.  Women have fought for and waited too long for full equality.  It’s time—long overdue—for the 38 states that have ratified the ERA to be recognized and for the ERA to be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.  The days of women working twice as hard for half as much must end.”

H.J.Res. 79 is set to go to the House floor for a vote tomorrow morning, and is expected to pass. There is a bipartisan companion resolution that has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Lisa Murakowski (R-AK).

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