Jul 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House votes to remove Confederate statues from Capitol

A  statue of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy.

A statue of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, on display in in Statuary Hall inside the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 305-113 on Wednesday to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol building.

Why it matters: The bipartisan vote comes amid a broader national movement to eliminate symbols of racism and oppression that has led to the removal of Confederate statues across the country.

Details: Wednesday's bill would require states to reclaim and replace statues given to the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall that depict Americans who defended the Confederacy, slavery or white supremacy.

  • At least 11 statues of Confederate leaders and generals are currently in that collection, including a monument of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy.
  • The bill would also replace a bust of former Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who authored the Dred Scott decision in 1857, stating that Black Americans could not be U.S. citizens.
  • A statue of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice, would replace Taney's bust, which is inside the Old Supreme Court Chamber.

What they're saying: "My ancestors built the Capitol, but yet there are monuments to the very people that enslaved my ancestors," Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), said Wednesday, according to CNN.

What's next: It is unclear whether the GOP-controlled Senate will take up the bill. Republicans have previously blocked similar legislation in the Senate.

  • It is also unknown how President Trump will react to the legislation. He has criticized efforts from Congress and the Pentagon to remove Confederate imagery and namesakes from military installations.

Go deeper: Trump says he's not offended by the Confederate flag

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