H.R. 1700: National Women's History Museum Act of 2009

H.R. 1700

National Women's History Museum Act of 2009

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

October 14, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1700 on Wednesday, October 14, 2009, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 1700 was introduced on March 25, 2009, by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which held a mark-up and reported the bill, by voice vote, on September 24, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1700 would direct the General Services Administration (GSA) to sell a building known as the Department of Agriculture (USDA) "Cotton Annex" and the James Forrestal Building, both in Washington, D.C., to the National Women's History Museum, Inc. (NWHM). Under the bill, the property would be sold at fair market value and on such terms the Administrator considers "reasonable and appropriate to protect the interests of the United States and further the purposes of this Act."

H.R. 1700 would stipulate that the property would revert to the U.S. without repayment of any amount of the purchase price if the property is not used as a national women's history museum for 99 years or if the museum construction has not commenced within five years of the sale. The sale must take place within three years of enactment.

In addition, the Administrator would be authorized to contract environmental response actions and environmental response actions taken by the museum would be credited towards the cost of the building.



The National Women's History Museum, Inc. (NWHM) is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1996 with a self-proclaimed mission of "preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women, and integrating this rich heritage fully into our nation's history." In 1999, the President's Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History suggested the creation of a new museum dedicated to women's history on the National Mall and cited the NWHM as an organization suitable for taking the lead role in the endeavor. NWHM does not currently have a permanent location to establish the women's history museum.

Under current law, the GSA is able to transfer federal land that is considered surplus to public entities at little or no cost. However, the facilities referred to in the bill have yet to be classified as surplus and thus the NWHM must pay fair market value. Funds from the sale could be spent by the GSA without additional appropriation.

H.R. 1700 would allow the NWHM to purchase the USDA "Cotton Annex" and the James Forrestal Building on the corner of 12th and Independence Avenue in Southwest Washington, D.C. According to CBO, the property mainly consists of a small parking lot, but the GSA had no immediate plans to stop using the property or declare the property excess. Based on property sales, CBO estimates that the total proceeds from the sale would be less than $60 million.

**Some Members may be interested that the National Women's History Museum currently contains exhibits that could be used to advance a pro-abortion or pro-feminist agenda.**





According to CBO, H.R. 1700 "would not have a significant net impact on the federal budget."