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House votes to eliminate deadline for Equal Rights Amendment

Virginia ratified the Equal Rights Amendment last month, becoming the 38th and final state needed. But it was well after a 1982 deadline set by Congress.

WASHINGTON — In a bid to revive the Equal Rights Amendment, the House has approved a measure removing a 1982 deadline for state ratification and reopening the process to amend the Constitution to prohibit discrimination based on sex. 

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California, the measure's sponsor, said there is no deadline for equality. 

The House approved the resolution on Thursday, sending it to the Senate. 

The House vote comes 48 years after Congress first approved the ERA and sent to the states. Virginia ratified the amendment last month, becoming the 38th and final state needed. The Justice Department has said it's too late, and a lawsuit is now ongoing. 

Thursday's vote to remove the deadline passed by a vote of 232-183. Five Republicans voted in support, including Rep. John Curtis of Utah, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Rep. Tom Reed of New York, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Rodney Davis of Illinois. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has given no indication that the Senate will take up the resolution. 

Earlier in the week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said people like her who support an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution should start over in trying to get it passed rather than counting on breathing life into the failed attempt from the 1970s. 

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Ginsburg said during an event at Georgetown's law school in Washington that she “would like to see a new beginning.” 

In 1971, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by the House, 354-23.