FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
House of Representatives Passes National Women’s History Museum Bill
MAY 7, 2014 – ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) announced today that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to form a Congressional Commission on the Potential Creation of a National Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC. The bipartisan legislation (H.R. 863) co-sponsored by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) passed by a vote of 383 to 33 and now heads to the Senate where Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) are leading the charge.
According to NWHM President & CEO Joan Wages, “We are delighted with the results of today’s vote! Women represent 51% of our nation’s population, but account for only 1 in 10 figures represented in U.S. history textbooks and only 13 of the more than 200 statues in the Capitol. Clearly, Americans only know half of our history. A national women’s history museum will ensure the contributions American women have made to this great nation will become a part of our national narrative.” Wages added, “We are forever indebted to Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Marsha Blackburn. Their commitment, courage and tireless efforts in support of a national women’s history museum have been extraordinary, as is evidenced by today’s successful vote. Their partnership on this effort demonstrates what has been true since this nation was founded – women get things done! And, we get it done, despite our differences, by working together.”
“A National Women’s History Museum has a rightful place in our Nation’s capital,” said Representative Carolyn Maloney. “This bill will establish a Congressional Commission to help secure that place. Women gained the right to vote in 1920. I hope that a century later, in 2020, their efforts and accomplishments of women throughout our history will be chronicled in a museum that both our daughters and sons can learn from and enjoy. I am grateful for the leadership of Representative Blackburn and to the support of the many Republicans and Democrats who worked together to pass this bill.”
“This legislation takes an important step in our effort to recognize the accomplishments of women who have contributed to freedom and the promise of opportunity which we Americans cherish,” Blackburn said. “This museum is about bringing together women and remembering those visionaries who changed the course of American history. All this would be done through private donations, and not one dime of taxpayer money. It is only appropriate that during the same week we celebrate mothers around the country for their contributions to our families, that my colleagues in the House would come together in this bipartisan effort to honor our nation’s most influential women.”
The bill, H.R. 863, calls for the establishment of a Congressional Commission to prepare a report containing recommendations for establishing and maintaining a National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C. Specifically, it would address the governance, organizational structure, fundraising, operations and location of the Museum. The 8-member bipartisan commission would have 18 months to produce the report and submit it to Congress for approval.
This bipartisan legislation passed with the support of Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. The growing list of cosponsors has increased from 25 at this time last year to 94 today. A similar bill in the Senate has been introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). It has 21 co-sponsors, including 19 of the Senate’s 20 female lawmakers.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the commission and the museum would have no significant impact on federal spending.
The bill was approved unanimously by both the House Natural Resources Committee on April 9, following a March 25 hearing, and the House Committee on Administration passed the measure on April 2, following a December 11 hearing.
About the National Women’s History Museum: Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM, Inc.) is a nonpartisan, 501©3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the general public about the diverse historic contributions of women and raising awareness about the critical need for a national women’s history museum in our nation’s capital. Currently located online at www.nwhm.org, the Museum’s goal is to build a world-class, permanent museum on or near the National Mall that will herald and display the collective history of American women. Current legislation is underway to create a Congressional Commission that would be charged with producing a feasible plan which would include the governance, estimated cost, location and organizational structure of the museum. For additional information visit NWHM.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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