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Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and our 500,000 members around the country join Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in his opposition to a bill that could put taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars to build and maintain a new women's museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
There is no doubt that women have played an indispensable role in shaping and improving the American experience throughout our nation's history and their stories deserve to be shared and celebrated. But with our country facing more than $17 trillion in debt, it would be deeply irresponsible to use untold millions of taxpayer dollars to establish a new museum.
Unfortunately, this is likely to happen if Congress passes the "Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women's History Museum Act of 2013" (S.398/H.R.863), which would create a commission charged with developing a plan for the organization, operations and location of a new national women's history museum.
In a recent op-ed, Joyce Kinkead argues that "funding is clearly not an issue" by explaining that the bill prohibits the commission from using any federal funds to carry out its mission.
This is both true and highly misleading.
It is absolutely correct that the bill requires the commission to be fully financed with private funds. But the bill also expressly leaves open the possibility that taxpayer money could be used for the construction, operation and maintenance in perpetuity of the museum.
If the National Women's History Museum is poised to launch the commission with its own funds, as Ms. Kinkead points out, why would supporters be asking for an act of Congress for the commission to begin its investigation?
Because, in reality, the commission is a Trojan horse that will ultimately lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to build and maintain the museum.
According to NWMH's own president and CEO, construction of the museum would likely cost between $400 and $500 million, and operational expenses would total nearly $20 million every year. Yet NWHM has raised only $14 million to finance the effort.
Further, NWHM has already announced it will seek an affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution, which receives more than 65 percent of its funding ($805 million in FY 2014) from the American taxpayer.
We welcome an open debate about the fiscal prudence of taxpayers paying for another museum, but, unlike Ms. Kinkead's assertion, funding is clearly an issue.
The possibility of a new national women's history museum receiving federal assistance is even more troubling when you consider that NWHM has demonstrated little interest in providing an inclusive history that reflects the wide diversity of perspectives among American women.
Conservative women are vastly underrepresented on the National Women's History Museum's website and, when they are incorporated, their pro-life views are rarely, if ever, mentioned.
For example, a short vignette on Victoria Woodhull emphasizes the sexual dimensions of her positions, as well as her opposition to the institution of marriage, while downplaying her contributions to the women's suffrage movement and completely omitting any mention of her opposition to abortion.
Perhaps this sort of one-sided, myopic presentation of women's history should be expected from an organization with a decidedly left-leaning board of directors, but it would be wholly inappropriate for such biased history to be subsidized by the American taxpayers.
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee shares Sen. Mike Lee's firm commitment to recovering the lost stories and silenced voices of great American women and celebrating their significant contributions to our nation's history. We applaud him for recognizing the importance of honoring America's women in a sustainable and fiscally responsible manner.
Women throughout history have played integral roles in American society, and their stories should be shared. However, we shouldn't be forced to subsidize a museum that will neither communicate, nor honor, the true legacy of all women. Until that standard is met, we should all question the veracity of this project.
Penny Nance is President and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy women's organization. Concerned Women for America of Utah has 8,400 members. Find out more at concernedwomen.org.