The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a proposal to remove the names of Confederates from military bases and other Defense Ministry facilities over the next three years, prompting a possible confrontation with President Donald Trump over the issue.
While a number of Republicans, including committee chairman Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, have expressed concerns about how the changes would be implemented, the proposal was voted on Wednesday with only a few dissidents.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Proposed the proposal as an amendment to the Mass National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes funds and establishes policies for the military each year; the larger bill was approved by the committee in a 25-2 vote. If the language survives the ground vote and is also included in the house version of the package, the president will have to veto the entire bill to prevent the names from changing.
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Trump said on Wednesday that he “would not even consider” renaming the military bases that honor Confederate leaders, despite a national record of racial discrimination in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. The military has 10 military posts named after Confederate military officers, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Benning in Georgia and Fort Hood in Texas.
The president tweeted Thursday that Republican senators, hopefully, would not “fall” in favor of Warren’s proposal, first reported by Roll Call.
The proposal would establish a commission to make recommendations on name changes to bases and other military resources, which would be completed within three years, with contributions from state and local governments where the bases are located. And there are exceptions, including tombstones from Arlington National Cemetery and all assets named for Confederates who later served in wars in the U.S. Army after the Civil War.
Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Told reporters that he had voted against the amendment. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Also voted no. A source close to the ruling said Cotton wanted an exception for memorials clearly dedicated to Confederate war dead, and no exceptions were made.
But Senator Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Said that while it was agreed that the history of the United States should not be forgotten, the bases should not be named for those “who fought against our country”.
“And so I think this is a step in the right direction, it was the right time for that, and I think it sends the right message,” said Rounds.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said at her weekly press conference on Thursday that the names of the bases, as well as the Confederate Capitol statues, “must go.”
Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Said at his own press conference later Thursday that he was “not opposed” to the renaming of the bases, but said that he wanted to wait to see how the defense authorization bill would look.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in a statement on Wednesday that he was “open to a bipartisan conversation regarding the renaming of army bases,” adding “that no decision has been made.” for the time being “.
The Pentagon also said that the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army were “open to a bipartisan discussion on the subject.”