The U.S. House voted Friday morning to approve a bill that would see the Department of Treasury mint and issue up to 400,000 $1 silver coins in honor of women gaining the right to vote just more than 100 years ago in 1918.
The bill (H.R. 2423) is called the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act and its next step before becoming law is to be signed by President Donald Trump.
Authored by U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and cosponsored by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand from New York, the bill will allow for commemorative currency minted and issued throughout the duration of 2020, starting on January 1.
"Every woman in Congress has the women of the suffrage movement to thank for our right to represent our constituents today,” Blackburn said. “The 2020 centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment is a rare moment to celebrate the milestone in American history that made it possible for women to finally have a voice in government. Ninety-nine years after women gained the right to vote, I became the first woman from Tennessee to serve in the United States Senate. I am honored to have worked with Senator Gillibrand and Reps. Stefanik and Lawrence to commemorate the pioneers and trailblazers who made it possible for us to be members of these chambers.”
The body of the United States Senate in 2019 currently has sitting 25 women, which at exactly a quarter of the entire Senate, is the highest amount of women serving in history. For comparison, only 56 women have ever served in the United States Senate since its inception in 1789.
“Almost a century ago, after women across the nation spoke out and fought for their right to vote, the 19th Amendment was finally passed. It was one of the greatest milestones in American history, and we should do everything we can to celebrate it,” Gillibrand said. “As a New Yorker, I am especially proud to celebrate a historic movement that was born and planned in our state. Though there is still work to be done to ensure that every vote is counted, I’m thrilled that our bipartisan bill to create a commemorative coin in honor of the suffragists has passed Congress. I urge the President to quickly sign this bill into law and pay tribute to the unparalleled contributions that the suffragists had to our nation’s history.”
Its roots starting in 1848, the women’s suffrage movement held its first women’s rights convention in Gillibrand’s home state of New York, and end in 1920 right in Nashville, with Tennessee being the 36th and final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment.