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The Congressional Black Caucus Adopts Position on Mandatory Redesignation of Department of Defense Property Honoring the Confederacy in FY21 NDAA

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Washington, November 20, 2020 | comments
This week, the Congressional Black Caucus voted unanimously to adopt a position that the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act must include a provision mandating the redesignation of Department of Defense property honoring the Confederacy. The Congressional Black Caucus maintains that the renaming must be completed no later than three years.
Both the House and the Senate passed bipartisan provisions to rename defense property that currently memorializes and honors the Confederacy and Confederate soldiers who fought to preserve slavery and white supremacy. The House Armed Services Committee reported the bill out of committee by a unanimous 56-0 vote and the full United States House of Representatives voted for the bill with a veto-proof vote of 295-125. Similarly, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported their bill on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 25-2 and the full United States Senate today passed the bill 86-14.
The provision passed by the House of Representatives was led by Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD) and Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE). The provision in the Senate was led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
The provisions passed by the two chambers define a strong Congressional bipartisan consensus for action. Yet in response to a veto threat by President Trump, Senator Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has stated “we’re going to see to it that [the base renaming] provision doesn’t survive the bill.” Senate Republicans have since refused to negotiate in good-faith or accept the language passed by their own chamber. 
“The protests this summer demanded that this country finally address systemic racism and our own painful history. That reckoning must extend to all institutions of government, including our armed services,” said Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Karen Bass. “There are countless American heroes that provide the positive, inclusive inspiration required by memorial designations; men and women who served their country loyally and who uphold our values. It’s time we honor them, not traitors who sought to tear apart our country.”
“This is a question of what values does this country, our military, and this Congress stand for. Bases honoring Confederate leaders were designated during the height of Jim Crow, and the early days of the Civil Rights movement. Monuments, statues, and honorary names associated with the Confederacy were intended then, and continue today, to be used to perpetuate hatred and division, said Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Anthony G. Brown. “These are not passive tributes to historic figures, but active symbols of intolerance. We owe it to ourselves, to our military, and to every American who will answer the call to duty, to get this done.”
A Military Times poll found servicemembers support renaming property honoring the Confederacy 49 - 37 percent. Senior military leadership - including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley - has also expressed support for renaming. President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it includes a provision to redesignate these installations and defense property.

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