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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Historic Senate Vote On The Resolution On The Equal Rights Amendment

Washington, D.C.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the Senate vote to advance a resolution on the Equal Rights Amendment. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

As we all know, the story of American democracy has been a hard but inexorable march towards greater equality. Equality regardless of race. Equality regardless of social status. Equality regardless of marital status.

And equality regardless of sex.

That march began at the founding of our country, when Abigail Adams reminded her husband to “remember the ladies” when drafting the Constitution—which fell, unfortunately, on deaf ears.

It was a march that drew great numbers during the Convention at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, and found expression in the abolitionist movement.

That march took a bold step one hundred years ago, when Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman drafted the original iteration of the Equal Rights Amendment and it came before Congress for the first time.

Let that great march towards equality take the next bold step today when the Senate votes to take up this bipartisan resolution on the ERA.

This resolution is as necessary as it is timely. America can never hope to be a land of freedom and opportunity so long as half its population is treated like second class citizens.

So 100 years after the ERA first came to Congress, the work is not done. The fight is yet to be won. The march continues and we have a chance right now to take this next step forward.

The resolution is simple: it removes the arbitrary deadline for state ratification of the ERA that was imposed in the 1970s. Today, 38 states have ratified the ERA, as required by the Constitution, but because two states acted only recently, after the deadline set by Congress, the ERA remains unratified.

Today’s resolution says this deadline shall be in effect no more, and by doing so recognizes that a sufficient number of states have now acted for the ERA to become the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

There is no good reason—none—for this chamber, this Congress, and this nation to bind itself to limitations set fifty years ago. The Constitution itself imposes no such barrier; by keeping this barrier in place—this seven year barrier—all we’re doing is needlessly obeying skewed rules set by politicians who are long gone, and whose views ought not rule the day any longer.

In 2023, we should move forward to ratify the ERA with all due haste, because if you look at the terrible things happening to women’s rights in this country, it’s clear that we must act.

To the horror of hundreds of millions of American people, women in America have far fewer rights today than they did even a year ago. The protections of Roe v Wade are gone, thanks to the MAGA majority on the Supreme Court. Over a dozen states have near total abortion bans, and millions of people have to travel hundreds of miles just to access reproductive care. That is sickening.

That is why the Senate today should vote in favor of advancing this ERA resolution, so we can bring our nation one step closer to greater justice, greater equality, and a more perfect union.

Again, let that great march towards equality take the next bold step today.

And I thank Senators Cardin and Murkowski, as our lead sponsors, it is a bipartisan bill, and all members who’ve championed this resolution, and I will proudly vote yes on this measure.