Jun 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP senator blocks bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Thursday blocked an attempt by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to pass a bill via unanimous consent that would require the removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall collection, stating: "I'd certainly like to have some time to decide if we should have a hearing on this."

Why it matters: There are at least 11 statues of Confederate leaders and generals currently inside the collection. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked Joint Committee on the Library to remove the statues, claiming they "pay homage to hate, not heritage."

What they're saying: Blunt, the chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library, said that the law allows state to decide which two statues of prominent citizens it will send to the Capitol, and that this bill would "have the effect of abandoning agreements that we have entered into with the states."

  • "The state would have to pass legislation. The governor would have to sign it to put a statue in the building. The Congress would only determine if the statue met the requirements that the other statues had been held to. And up until now that's been the congressional part of this agreement with the states. 
  • "Now, we can do away with that program. We could do a lot of things. But we've entered into that agreement."

Worth noting: Blunt said that it would be "absolutely appropriate" to review the names of U.S. military installations named after Confederate leaders, arguing that "we can do that all on our own."

Go deeper: Pelosi orders removal of portraits of House speakers who served Confederacy

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