An Historic Week for Women & Civil Rights
It was an incredible week in Washington, DC for women’s equality and civil rights. The House passed my bill to create a Smithsonian women’s history museum on the National Mall and a resolution to remove the arbitrary deadline imposed on the Equal Rights Amendment. In the Committee on Oversight and Reform we held a historic markup on a bill to make Washington, DC the 51st state and questioned the director of the Census Bureau on how he and his team are working to make sure our nation gets the full, fair, and accurate 2020 Census it needs and deserves, as mandated by the Constitution.
More on all of this and other developments from the week below.
Creating a Women’s Museum on the National Mall
Congresswoman Maloney with American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commission Chair Jane Abraham, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
credit: Phi Nguyen
There is a saying that women hold up half the sky. Well, that’s an understatement.
Women have made incredible contributions to our country since its founding. Yet, there is no comprehensive museum in the country dedicated to their achievements. The House made history on Tuesday afternoon by voting to create one.
I’m proud to report that in a bipartisan vote of 374-37, the House of Representatives passed my bill, H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, to create a museum on the National Mall dedicated to telling the full story of American women’s history.
By creating this museum, we can inspire future generations to make history themselves. Representation matters. Let’s make sure that every child has heroes and role models to look up to. The Senate should act swiftly to pass this bill and send it to the President’s desk.
The 51st State: Washington, Douglass Commonwealth
Congresswoman Maloney with Congresswoman Norton and Veterans United for DC Statehood
On Tuesday, I chaired a markup of H.R. 5803, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. The bill passed out of our committee in an extraordinary, once-in-a-generation step towards granting basic democratic rights to more than 700,000 Americans who live in the District of Columbia.
I look forward to working with House leadership to advance this legislation on the House floor, and I commend Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for her tenacity and leadership on behalf of her constituents in this fight. Her tireless efforts have led us to this day.
Working for a Full, Fair, and Accurate Census
Click here to watch the Chairwoman's Opening Statment
Ahead of the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s hearing with Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham on Wednesday, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report finding major concerns with the Census Bureau’s preparations for the 2020 Census. This report warns that there are “significant risks” to preparations for the 2020 Census. The Census has already begun, but the Bureau faces a host of problems, including inadequate recruitment and hiring, missed target dates, insufficient progress working with community partners, significant cybersecurity challenges, and the list goes on.
These are grave challenges facing this year’s Census, and to be honest, I don’t have full confidence that the Administration is equipped to handle them. But, I remain committed to doing everything I can by working with the Bureau, the GAO, and partners nationwide to deliver a fair and accurate count. Our Constitution requires it, our communities rely on it, and our democracy depends on it.
Click here to watch Congresswoman Maloney's Floor Speech in Support of H.J. Res 79
I first introduced the Equal Rights Amendment in the House of Representatives more than 20 years ago – and it’s as relevant and needed today as it was then and when it was first proposed by Alice Paul in 1923. We know that equality for women will always elude us when it isn’t etched into the Constitution. We’ve seen it when the Supreme Court gutted the Violence Against Women Act, when judges don’t enforce equal pay for equal work, or when a federal judge ruled that Congress didn’t have the authority to outlaw female genital mutilation.
But if our rights are in the Constitution, they can’t be so easily erased or rolled back by the changing political whims of legislators, judges, or presidents. Women are long past due equal treatment under the law, and we will persist until it is firmly guaranteed in the Constitution. There is no deadline on equality.
It is thanks to the tireless advocates across this country, who have refused to give up, that we’ve taken this tremendous step toward enshrining women’s rights in the Constitution. I was so proud to vote with my colleagues on Thursday to adopt H.J.Res. 79 and remove the arbitrary deadline that was imposed on the ERA decades ago.
Women’s equality will be spelled out in the Constitution. And we will spell it E-R-A.
Oversight of Secret Service Spending at Trump Properties
On Wednesday, I joined with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) in seeking documents from the Secret Service regarding disturbing reports of exorbitant charges at President Donald Trump’s private clubs and resorts, as well as the Administration’s failure to disclose the amount of taxpayer dollars being spent at these private properties.
On February 7, 2020, the Washington Post reported that the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service rates as high as $650 per night, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and personal accounts.
The payments are far above government rates and the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency raises serious concerns about the use, and abuse, of taxpayer dollars. We have requested a response from the Administration by February 25. You can read the full letter here.
Fighting for Student Survivors of Sexual Assault
Since being sworn in as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has worked against students who are survivors of sexual assault. Now, a proposed rule from the Department of Education will encourage schools to pursue fewer investigations of sexual harassment and assault. The Department is poised to finalize the rule soon. In proposing this rule, the Department’s cost-benefit analysis seems to leave out the full array of costs to student survivors, including medical costs, lost educational and professional opportunities, relocation and housing costs, missed paid work, and foregone tuition.
And so, today, I led all Democratic members of the Committee on Oversight and Reform in a letter to Secretary DeVos requesting information about this proposed rule. You can read the full letter here.
As always, your concerns still and always will remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
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Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress