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Previous story House to vote on joint resolution to remove ERA deadline Next story

STORY BY VERONICA STRACQUALURSI, CNN

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Published on March 17, 2021 6:31 AM

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at a news conference on the House's vote last year to remove the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment in February 2020 in Washington, DC. The House is voting on the deadline again in 2021.
(CNN)The House is pushing forward with a joint resolution to remove a deadline for states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, after a recent federal court ruling said the deadline for the ERA expired long ago.

Proponents of the ERA believe the court ruling signaled that it's now up to Congress to validate their argument that the ERA has already been ratified and should be published as the Constitution's 28th Amendment. But opponents say Congress cannot retroactively change its imposed deadline decades after it expired and blast the vote as a political stunt.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the ERA resolution would be considered by the chamber on Wednesday, during the month of Women's History Month. The House is also planning a vote Wednesday to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark bill championed by President Joe Biden that expired in 2018.

A vote this month is a symbolic step reaffirming supporters' commitment to the ERA, which they have fought for decades to add to the Constitution, given that the House approved the same resolution last session -- but also that many of the same legal questions surrounding the ERA remain unanswered.

The Democratic-led House had approved the resolution largely on a party-line vote last session of Congress, and Carol Jenkins, the president of the ERA Coalition, told CNN they are sure that the House will pass it again this session. The resolution this session, introduced by Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier and Republican Rep. Tom Reed, has over 200 cosponsors. But like so many other pieces of legislation Democrats want to prioritize, the resolution faces a tougher path forward in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans have a 50-50 partisan split and Vice President Kamala Harris acts as the tie-breaking vote.

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, who introduced the Senate joint resolution with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has projected optimism and said during a virtual town hall hosted by the ERA Coalition late last month that "this looks like the year that we can get it done."

Cardin said that he and Murkowski were reaching out to GOP members to try to shore up support. His spokesperson Sue Walitsky told CNN that Cardin "continues to work with leadership to find the most advantageous time for Senate consideration."