Women building: GOP-led House to vote on women's museum
May 7th, 2014
08:48 AM ET
8 months ago

Women building: GOP-led House to vote on women's museum

Washington (CNN) – The election-year attention on women lands directly on the House floor Wednesday, after Republican leaders decided to allow a vote on a National Women's History Museum, changing their approach to the issue.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York, has pushed the idea of a national women's museum for over 17 years. Her bill to trigger the first step, a museum commission, has passed the House and Senate before, but during separate sessions of Congress. In each case a Democratic majority in one chamber approved the museum commission but Republicans in the other blocked it.

Now top Republicans are on board, with GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor scheduling the vote for Wednesday.

"This time, the third time, is the trick," Maloney told CNN. "It's going to pass both houses this time."

What changed? Maloney is quick to credit her bipartisan cosponsor, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, who personally made the case for the museum to key GOP leaders in the House.

"She worked very, very hard to achieve this support," Maloney said, "She has been an incredible partner."

Blackburn said she started working on the idea about a year ago and called the GOP decision to advance the museum now a matter of conveying the right information. The Tennessee congresswoman had to overcome political and logistical doubts: whether Washington is museum-saturated and whether the project will espouse any liberal themes.

"It's just a process of education and saying let's sit down and get this done," Blackburn said. "I think the reason for it is to celebrate what women have accomplished in this country whether in the fight for freedom or opening doors for other women."

As for any pressure on Republicans to appeal to women this year, the Tennessee congresswoman demurred. "I think of course you 're going to hear periodically from time to time that it's the year of the woman and I think we're in one of those cycles, and rightfully so," she said. "I think the vote shows that men and women recognize there is a need to go back through our nation's history and recognize... the role of women."

When asked why there needs to be a museum for women, Maloney described a centuries-old lack of recognition for America's female leaders.

"Of all the 210 statues in the Capitol, nine are of women," she said. "Sybil Ludington rode just as far as Paul Revere, even farther, but no one's even heard of her." Ludington rode roughly 40 miles one night in 1777 to raise a regiment of revolutionary troops in response to a surprise British attack.

Helping both Maloney and Blackburn in their quest, their proposal calls for the museum to be funded entirely by private dollars. So far, Maloney says the organization behind the idea has raised $12 million, more than enough to get a commission started and complete the initial feasibility study that is part of the bill.

That feasibility study is set to take 18 months, looking at possible locations, costs and the timeline for building a museum.

The House is expected to pass the idea and send it to the Senate for approval.


Filed under: Carolyn Maloney • Congress • House • Marsha Blackburn
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    ... ... The Tennessee congresswoman had to overcome political and logistical doubts: whether Washington is museum-saturated and whether the project will espouse any liberal themes. ... ...
    ----------------------------------
    What is really wrong with a "museum saturated" nation's capitol, anyway?

    May 7, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Yes! Instead of allowing laws to be passed that make it a crime to pay you less than your male counterparts, we've decided you'd be better served if we appropriated funding for a museum. How do you like us now?

    May 7, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Why did republicans block it to begin with? Now that they realize they need women to win elections, they want to hold a vote on the museum.

    May 7, 2014 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Blackburn said she started working on the idea about a year ago and called the GOP decision to advance the museum now a matter of conveying the right information. The Tennessee congresswoman had to overcome political and logistical doubts: whether Washington is museum-saturated and whether the project will espouse any liberal themes."

    Oh for the love of God: political condescension at its worst.

    "As for any pressure on Republicans to appeal to women this year, the Tennessee congresswoman demurred. "I think of course you 're going to hear periodically from time to time that it's the year of the woman and I think we're in one of those cycles, and rightfully so," she said. "I think the vote shows that men and women recognize there is a need to go back through our nation's history and recognize... the role of women."

    To be truthful, I doubt there is a GOPerville woman in Congress who "speaks" for your everyday woman just trying to make ends meet day after day.

    Oh well. Let the woman vote pandering begin in GOPerville. It ought to worth a few laughs. Pandering usually is laughable no matter what side of the aisle is doing the pandering.

    May 7, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. rs

    Well, we'll see how the GOP does here. They take away women's rights; they impeded their reproductive rights; they impact their voting rights (esp. in Texas); they don't support equal pay, but MAYBE they'll vote for a women's history museum.

    Yeah, that'll win their votes.

    May 7, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Gunderson

    Well Ok.
    Now who going to fund it? I guess Monica Lewenski re-appeared just in time.

    May 7, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  7. rla

    Really– will it be right by the museum for men??? The American History museum dose a great job- Please note we DON"T HAVE THE MONEY for foolisness and political foolishness above all.

    May 7, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Tony

    Now that the Republicans are on board with a national women's museum, we should put Palin in there. Hopefully then she would shut up.

    May 7, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "In each case a Democratic majority in one chamber approved the museum commission but Republicans in the other blocked it."

    Dems should push hard that Norma Leah McCorvey should be prominently featured as a hero for women's rights along with the rest. Stew in that, GOPers/Teatrolls....your tears sustain me.

    May 7, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    So yes on a museum but no on equal pay?? I can see the women flocking to the GOP in droves after this.😯😯😯

    May 7, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Bill from GA

    " their proposal calls for the museum to be funded entirely by private dollars "

    As long as the museum totally built and operated by private dollars, let them build it. But in that case, why does it need Congress at all?

    May 7, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. marc

    It's great to see this project is going to be privately funded. If taxpayer money were to be used, it would be an outrage during frugal times.

    May 7, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. marc

    CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

    May 7, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. don in albuquerque

    Gunderson

    Now that was funny!!!

    May 7, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. drake mallard

    the gop and tea KOCH party is the anti-gay, anti-abortion anti-womyn, anti-science ,anti-health care, anti disabilities rights. Who are running on these social issues. Never mind health reform or jobs. Or anything important or non-discriminatory, for that matter. they do not understand that there is a Separation of church and state.the federal endorsement of a deity or religion violates the united states constitution

    May 7, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. J Anthony

    Maybe initially funded by private dollars, but sure to be subsidized by government. What's sad is that this is the only thing that gets bipartisan support. Forget about the well-being of our citizens,our environment, our infrastructure, half the country has been brainwashed into believing our government, funded by We the People, shouldn't do anything ever for the general welfare. They think we're broke, when in reality we've been conned into a debt-trap.

    May 7, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. CryBabies

    Lets get all "touchy..feely" about agendas that this administration is pushing this year (again) . How about a museum that deals with women, affected by global warming that could not afford air conditioning, because they earned 25% less than men, and couldn't afford picture ID so they could vote those rascals out of office that were clamping down on their birth control and then had to walk to the abortion clinic to take advantage of Planned Parenthoods funding? I bet Elizabeth Warren would be on board.

    May 7, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |