Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), sponsor of H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, was joined by original cosponsors Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) in celebrating the bill’s inclusion in the omnibus package passed December 21, 2020.
“Building a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, a testament to the women who helped build and shape this nation, has been years in the making and I am thrilled that we are finally set to pass this historic legislation,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “For too long, women’s stories have been left out of the telling of our nation’s history, but with this vote, we begin to rectify that. Americans of all ages deserve to see and be inspired by the remarkable women who helped shape this nation – seeing role models doing the thing to which we aspire, can change the course of someone’s life. How fitting that we pass this bill as we mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment and in the year in which we elected our first woman vice president.”
“I am incredibly pleased to see our Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act included in this package. Women’s contributions to the development of our nation and society are immense, however only five percent of the approximately 2,400 national monuments honor women,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “As the first museum in the United States dedicated to the full story of women’s history, this museum will tell the diverse story of the women who helped shape America. I am proud to stand with my colleagues who all worked so hard to get this bill across the finish line.”
“I am here today because of the women whose shoulders I stand on. For far too long, a women’s perspective has been omitted from the celebration of our nation’s history. I am thrilled to see the inclusion of the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act in the omnibus legislation,” said Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence. “This will ensure future generations of Americans recognize and understand the importance of women’s contributions and achievements to our great country. I am proud of this bipartisan effort and want to thank my colleagues for never giving up the fight.”
“This bill has been important to me since it was first introduced, and I’m proud to have played a part in getting the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act included in the omnibus spending deal today,” said Congresswoman Holmes Norton. “It’s fitting that the museum honoring notable women in our country’s history was introduced by a chairwoman in Congress, Congresswoman Maloney, and I thank her for her determined and persistent leadership on this issue.”
In November 2016, a bipartisan Congressional Commission, created by a bill that Rep. Maloney sponsored, issued its final report regarding the establishment of a women’s history museum in Washington, DC. The report concluded unanimously that the American people need and deserve such a museum. Congresswoman Maloney introduced H.R. 19 in the 115th Congress and H.R. 1980 in the 116th Congress based on these recommendations.
Congresswoman Maloney introduced H.R. 1980 with Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) on March 28, 2019. The companion bill, S.959, was introduced in the Senate by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). H.R. 1980 passed the House by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 374 – 37 on February 11, 2020. The Senate Rules and Administration Committee unanimously approved S.959 on December 4, 2020.