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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on Thursday that it should be left up to the states to decide whether to keep or remove their Confederate statues in the Capitol building.

Why it matters: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to the Joint Committee on the Library's leadership on Wednesday asking that they "immediately take steps" to remove 11 Confederate monuments from the Capitol's National Statuary Hall collection, as a nationwide movement against Confederate iconography continues in the wake of anti-racism protests.

  • McConnell noted that every state is allowed two statues and that it's up to them whether to trade them out: "I think the appropriate way to deal with this issue is to stick with the tradition."
  • "A number of states are trading them out now, but I think that’s the appropriate way to deal with the statue issue," he added. "The states make that decision."

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who chairs the Library Committee, told reporters on Thursday that Congress would have to change the law in order to control what statues states show in the Capitol, per Politico.

  • "The Congress could change any law they want to. If they want to change a law and say, 'No we’re now going to decide what statues states can have,' they can certainly do that," he said.
  • "There’s no authority to move statues out of the Capitol short of that."

Go deeper

Updated Aug 19, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the future of the Democratic party

DNC week: On Wednesday, August 20 Axios co-founder Mike Allen hosted a conversation on the future of the Democratic Party, featuring Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), DNC Chair Tom Perez, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

Mayor Levar Stoney unpacked his efforts to remove confederate statues and monuments in Richmond and the racist historical legacy they represent.

  • On taking down confederate iconography: "We should be ashamed of these monuments. We should be ashamed of these symbols as Americans...I know in 2020 that my city is better than that. I know my state is better than that. And I definitely know that my country is better than that."

Sen. Cory Booker discussed the historic 2020 election ticket, his vision for how communities can expand their view of what makes safe neighborhoods, and how to maintain transparency and accountability in governance.

  • On the nomination of Sen. Kamala Harris as VP: "I think it's this feeling of affirmation that for the first time since the founding of this nation, I can look up at that historic ticket and see myself."
  • On rethinking community safety and situations where law enforcement gets involved: "We need to...treat mental illness not with jail or prison, but with help and health care. Those kinds of things ultimately reduce violence, make us safe, safer, but more importantly, elevate human well-being and human flourishing."

Gov. Phil Murphy broke down New Jersey's COVID-19 response and highlighted which successful efforts could be replicated by other states.

  • On his advice for other state governments: "I think history will not judge you harshly if you overcorrect, if you are too aggressive with this virus. I think we will all be judged, on the other hand, very harshly if you under-correct, if you underestimated."

Tom Perez stressed the importance of getting out the vote for the fall election and discussed the efforts undertaken by the Democratic party to uphold voting rights.

  • On the Democratic party's voter protection efforts: "We've never had a more robust voter protection operation than we do now...The reason for this is that Donald Trump has been very, very clear — [he's] going to try to make it harder for eligible people to vote. [The Trump campaign] doesn't want everyone to vote. They want less people to vote. That's their only formula for success: suppressing the vote."
  • On the 2020 election and the historic Democratic ticket: "This is history-making. And so many levels, shattering the gender glass ceiling, shattering the racial glass ceiling...This is historic, but it will be only a historical footnote unless we win."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens in Atlanta, Georgia, late Tuesday. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

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