This week, Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (MO.) and Ayanna Pressley (MA.) will be launching a new Congressional caucus that will focus on enshrining the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In a news conference, the pair highlighted that it had been 100 years since the Amendment had first been introduced in Congress in 1923, explaining that establishing the caucus would “commemorate the centennial of the struggle for constitutional gender equality.”
Pressley and Bush will be hosting a press conference on Tuesday (March 28) to formally introduce the caucus.
According to the news release, the caucus will raise awareness around the issue of gender equality and will partner with public figures, activists, advocates, organizers, and scholars to establish a constitutional right to gender equality.
Last year, House Democrats introduced a resolution to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the Constitution, a move which has also received the backing of President Joe Biden.
In 2020 Virginia ratified the Amendment, becoming the 38th state to do so and allowing the Amendment to pass the three-fourths threshold needed for it to be added to the Constitution.
However, the ERA couldn’t be enacted as Virginia’s ratification came nearly 50 years after both Congressional chambers cleared the Amendment in 1972.
In 1972, Congress granted states seven years to ratify the Amendment; later, that deadline was extended to 1982.
By 1982, only 35 states had ratified the ERA, three short of the required three-fourths threshold.
Under former President Donald Trump, the Department of Justice issued an opinion through its Office of Legal Counsel, explaining that the ERA couldn’t be ratified as the period to do so had expired.
Under President Joe Biden, the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel explained that the decision wouldn’t prevent the Senate or House from “taking further action” to ratify the ERA.