On the Hill

House Votes to Remove Arbitrary Timeline on the ERA and Reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act

Today, the House of Representatives voted 222-204 to remove the arbitrary timeline on the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

“Today the United States House of Representatives voted that there is no time limit on equality,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “Now it’s up to the Senate to agree and clear the path for the ERA to be in the Constitution so that equality of rights shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex.”

Next, the Senate will vote on companion legislation introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and if passed, the ERA will be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as the 28th amendment.

The House also voted 244-172 today to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which requires reauthorization every five years.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a landmark federal legislation passed in 1994 that forms our nation’s foundation to respond to and prevent gender-based violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking, and authorizes funding to prevent such violence and to assist survivors.

The law criminalizes such violence at the federal level and also provides resources for community-coordinated responses that work to end violence and support survivors.

VAWA was introduced for reauthorization in the spring of 2019, and was passed by the House of Representatives, but was not brought to the Senate floor for a vote by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell during the last session of Congress.

The House bill closes the “boyfriend” loophole, which bans gun ownership for abusive intimate partners.  The current jurisdiction of VAWA does not include intimate partners who do not live together, which the House bill would change. The National Rifle Association (NRA) objects to closing the loophole.

The House bill also covers key protections for LGBTQ+ survivors and important provisions concerning murdered and missing Indigenous women that would stop non-Native defendants from moving their prosecution from tribal courts to state courts.

The legislation moves to the Senate next for a vote.

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