Schakowsky, Adams, Omar Introduce Constitutional Amendment Guaranteeing Fundamental Human Rights

January 27, 2021
Press Release
Legislation would codify a right to housing, health care, education, and nutrition

Washington – Tomorrow, Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), and Ilhan Omar (MN-05) will introduce an amendment to the Constitution of the United States "recognizing and securing the fundamental right to life, liberty, and property, which includes housing, health care, education, and nutrition."

A copy of the resolution proposing the amendment is available here.

“For over 70 years, the United Nations has recognized the rights to housing, healthcare, education, and nutrition as human rights,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “Yet in the United States we see an affordable housing shortage and homelessness crisis, we see millions of uninsured Americans without access to basic healthcare, we see great inequities in our public school system, and we see millions of Americans struggle every day to put food on the table. By memorializing these fundamental rights in our Constitution, the United States can begin to make good on its promise to be a land of opportunity, equality, and freedom for all.”

“If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we’ve failed at guaranteeing basic security and human dignity for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Rep. Adams. “Tomorrow, I will introduce legislation – a constitutional amendment - that will ensure a right to shelter, health care, food security, and education in our founding documents. It is long past time for us to breathe new life into our Constitution, and recognize that true liberty not only means freedom from tyranny and oppression, but also freedom from the burden of poverty and centuries of structural racism and inequality. Our common humanity requires us to act on behalf of the dignity, health, and safety of all Americans.”

“For far too long, millions have been denied the promises enshrined in our Constitution—the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Rep. Omar. “This amendment will ensure that all people have the opportunity to access affordable healthcare, housing, nutrition and education. I am proud to join Representatives Adams and Schakowsky in this effort to make these fundamental human rights and provide a future where all people have a real chance at the American dream.”

The Constitutional amendment reads as follows:  

‘‘The right of any person to affordable housing, cost-effective health care, quality education, and adequate nutrition shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State, and the Congress shall have power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.’’