Click play for audio version of this story
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) is using Women’s Equality Day to boost his fundraising database.
He’s collecting e-mail addresses in an online petition calling on Senate Mitch McConnell to allow the Senate vote on re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
“Over the past year, we’ve seen continued attacks against American women’s fundamental right to make their own health care decisions,” Van Drew wrote. “We’ve seen women at the highest levels of their professions get denied equal pay for equal work.”
Van Drew says “bill after bill” passed by the Democratic-controlled House go to “die in the Senate.”
“It’s time for Senator McConnell to stop obstructing progress and get something done,” said Van Drew. “Re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act would be a great place to start.”
While championing Women’s Equality Day, Van Drew has made no comment on pending resolution to extend the ratification deadline of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Van Drew is the only New Jersey House Democrat is not co-sponsoring the measure.
The move would provide another extension to allow one more state to ratify the ERA, which Congress approved in 1972. The ERA fell three states short of ratification despite an extended deadline to 1982.
Two more states have since ratified the amendment, and with the Virginia lower house in play this year, there is a drive to grant another extension.
Earlier this year, the Virginia House of Delegates deadlocked 50-50 in a ratification vote. All 100 seats are up for election this year, with Democrats looking to flip the 51-49 Republican majority.
In 2017, a protracted dispute over one House seat led a Virginia judge to rule that there was no winner. State law breaks ties through a random draw and the seat went to Republican incumbent David Yancey. Yancey became the only Republican to vote for the ERA ratification last February.
A poll conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University last December showed that 81% of Virginians favored the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Senate version of the resolution was introduced by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and now has three co-sponsors: Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Angus King (I-Maine).
A 1983 bid to extend the ratification deadline fell six votes short in the House.
The U.S. House of Representatives originally approved the constitutional amendment on October 12, 1971 by a 324-24 vote. Thirteen New Jersey House members – 8 Democrats and 5 Republicans – voted yes. The lone New Jersey vote in opposition to the ERA was cast by Rep. Charles Sandman (R-Cape May Landing).
New Jersey became the 12th state to ratify the ERA on April 17, 1972. The Assembly voted 62-4 in favor of ratification. The Senate had voted for ratification on March 28, 34-0. Both houses were controlled by Republicans at the time.