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Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to the chairs of the Joint Committee on the Library on Wednesday requesting that the panel remove 11 Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall collection.

The latest: Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the vice chair of the Joint Committee on the Library, responded in a statement that she agrees that "these symbols of cruelty and bigotry" be "expediently" removed from the halls of the Capitol.

  • Committee chairman Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in a statement Thursday: “Under the law, each state decides which two statues it will send to the Capitol. Several states have moved toward replacing statues and others appear headed in the same direction. This process is ongoing and encouraging.
  • "As Speaker Pelosi is undoubtedly aware, the law does not permit the Architect of the Capitol or the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library to remove a statue from the Capitol once it has been received.”

Why it matters: Pelosi's request comes as Black Lives Matter protests have sparked the removal of Confederate monuments across the nation and renewed a debate about the place of Confederate iconography in U.S. institutions. President Trump said earlier Wednesday that he would "not even consider" renaming military bases named for Confederate leaders.

What they're saying:

“[T]he halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy.  The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation.  Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals.  Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage.  They must be removed.”
“Let us lead by example. To this end, I request the Joint Committee on the Library direct the Architect of the Capitol to immediately take steps to remove these 11 statues from display in the United States Capitol.”
— Speaker Pelosi

Go deeper

Pelosi says postmaster general won't commit to reversing USPS changes

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called out Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Wednesday, saying his alleged suspension of operational changes and cost-cutting "is wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked."

The big picture: Pelosi said that a conversation with DeJoy revealed the USPS has no intention of replacing the sorting machines, mailboxes and other mail infrastructure that has already been removed. On Tuesday, DeJoy promised to halt changes until after the 2020 election, a move Pelosi criticized as "misleading."

Pelosi endorses Joe Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate race

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday endorsed Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III in his bid to unseat the state's incumbent Sen. Ed Markey, giving Kennedy a crucial boost in a tight Democratic primary race.

Why it matters: Her move comes as many on the left have called for fresher, younger faces to represent party leadership. The 74-year-old Markey is backed by progressives, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and co-authored the Green New Deal.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.