Obama to designate new national monument on Capitol Hill

Obama to designate new national monument on Capitol Hill
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President Obama will designate a new national monument on Capitol Hill Tuesday to honor the women’s rights movement.

The site, the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, has been since 1929 the headquarters of the National Women’s Party, which was established in 1916 to fight for a equal rights for women in general and voting rights specifically.

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Obama plans to make the designation Tuesday, which women’s equality groups celebrate as Equal Pay Day.

“Tomorrow’s designation will permanently protect one of the oldest standing houses near the U.S. Capitol and help preserve an extensive archival collection that documents the history, strategies, tactics and accomplishments of the movement to secure women’s suffrage and equal rights in the United States and across the globe,” the White House said in announcing the plans.

Obama will speak at the site to advocate for policies to ensure equal pay for women, and to designate the house as the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, honoring Alva Belmont and Alice Paul, two early leaders in the National Women’s Party, The Washington Post reported.

The action would be part of a years-long push by Obama on women’s rights and equal pay. The first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which makes it easier for women to sue employers for pay discrimination.

Obama has used his power under the Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate 22 national monuments, protecting more land and water under the act than any previous president.

The designations have frequently riled Republicans, who lament that the land can no longer be developed or used for resource extraction, and the GOP wants to restrict his ability to name monuments.

But the Sewall-Belmont House is in an urban, developed area, sitting next door to the Senate’s Hart Office Building.

The house is currently privately owned, though it is a historic landmark. It has been affiliated with the National Park Service since the 1970s, and lawmakers have proposed to transfer it to Park Service ownership.

The National Park Foundation, a fundraising affiliate of the agency, will also announce a $1 million donation from local businessman David Rubenstein to help support and restore the house, the Post reported.