On February 25, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the disastrous and misleadingly-named Equality Act.
Last week, the House demonstrated that it isn’t finished passing bad bills. On March 17, 2021, the House reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and passed a resolution to remove the ratification deadline for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution. Like the Equality Act, the VAWA and the ERA have positive-sounding names that conceal what they would actually do.
First passed in 1994, VAWA was sponsored in the U.S. Senate by then-Senator Joe Biden. After being extended on multiple occasions, the law expired in February 2019. The VAWA reauthorization bill (H.R. 1620) is objectionable because it would allow persons identifying as “transgender” to stay in opposite-sex prison facilities and because it fails to prevent Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from receiving VAWA funds. It is sadly ironic that a bill originally designed to protect women against violence has now been reshaped to the point where it could actually expose some women to violence.
VAWA passed the House by a vote of 244-172, with 29 House Republicans voting “yea” and no House Democrats voting “nay.” Twenty-two House members from New York voted in favor of the bill, including Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY11), Tom Reed (R-NY23), John Katko (NY-24), and Chris Jacobs (R-NY27), while Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY2), Elise Stefanik (R-NY21), and Claudia Tenney (R-NY22) voted “nay” and Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY25) did not vote.
The ERA (H.J. Res. 17) is a proposed constitutional amendment that would explicitly ban sex discrimination. The trouble with its language is that could be used to protect a so-called “right” to abortion at any stage of pregnancy. The ERA passed the House of Representatives in 1971 and in the Senate by 1972. Thereafter, and it failed to be ratified by the requisite three-quarters of the states within its required timetable; therefore, it has lapsed and cannot become effective. The current resolution would remove the ratification deadline, breathing new life into this long-dead notion.
The ERA resolution passed by a vote of 218-204, with four House Republicans voting “yea” and no House Democrats voting “nay.” Twenty House members from New York voted in favor of the bill, including Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY11) and Tom Reed (R-NY23), while Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY2), Elise Stefanik (R-NY21), Claudia Tenney (R-NY22), John Katko (NY-24), and Chris Jacobs (R-NY27) voted “nay.”
Thankfully, neither VAWA nor the RHA is likely to pass the Senate this year unless the far left has its way and the Senate removes the requirement that bills receive the support of 60 or more senators before they reach the Senate floor for a vote.