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U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro wears a face mask during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill on September 16, 2020. PHOTO: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Two Hispanic congressmen, Reps. Joaquin Castro and Ruben Gallego, are asking Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to remove Trump loyalists from a panel charged with renaming 10 Army bases that honor Confederate leaders.

Why it matters: The request, outlined in a letter Friday written by Castro and Gallego, comes as the Biden administration purges remaining Trump-era appointees and as Hispanic and Black leaders demand that some Army bases be renamed after people of color.

Details: Earlier this month, then-Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller appointed four members to a panel created in the annual defense policy legislation that President Trump tried to stop over the renaming of bases.

  • The legislation calls for four members to be appointed by the defense secretary and four others to be named by the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.
  • The commission is intended to identify Confederate monuments for removal and to issue recommendations on how to rename the bases.

What they're saying: "These commissioners were appointed in the midst of a presidential transition by non-Senate confirmed Acting Secretary of Defense who himself was installed by a President who vetoed the (National Defense Authorization Act) in part due to opposition to renaming bases named after traitors and who incited his followers to stage an insurrection at the Capitol," Castro and Gallego wrote to Austin on Friday.

  • The letter was signed by 18 other members of the Congressional Hispanic Congress.

Between the lines: Mexican American and Black civil rights groups for years have sought to remove the names of Confederate leaders from military bases.

  • The League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation's oldest Latino civil rights group, wants Fort Hood in Texas, named for Confederate General John Bell Hood, to be renamed after Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Roy Benavidez.

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.

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