The Senate and House this week passed their own versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, both of which include a provision to change the names of bases. The Senate wording would form a commission that would have three years to work out a plan on how to approach the base name change. The version passed in the House calls for name changes within one year.Both houses passed the NDAA reauthorization with an overwhelming majority, meaning they could override any potential veto from Mr. Trump.
From now on, the two chambers will endeavor to reconcile the language of the two bills. As the name change of the bases has been addressed in both House and Senate bills, there will most likely be some type of language in the final bill that addresses this issue. Final passage of the bill is unlikely to happen until December of this year.
If Senate language survives, the committee will have until the end of December 2023 to determine how to act, which means Congress won’t have to make a decision on the bases in the near future.
Inhofe’s position is that changing the names of the bases should be left to the local communities.
Inhofe said in an interview with The Oklahoman on Thursday that he had spoken to the president and would make sure the provision was not included in the final bill.
“We will make sure that this provision does not survive the bill,” Inhofe said. “I’m not going to say how at this point. ”
It is unclear how Inhofe would ensure that the provision is not included in the final bill, as the House is controlled by Democrats and may not agree to consider final legislation that does not include this measure. Senator Josh Hawley previously attempted to include an amendment to the NDAA that would prevent the bases from being renamed, but the amendment did not get a vote in the Senate.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Friday to ask Inhofe how the senator plans to prevent name changes in the legislation. McEnany also noted that a June ABC News / Ipsos poll showed 56% of Americans oppose renaming military bases, saying “the president is on the side of the American people.”
There are ten US Army installations named after Confederate officials: Fort AP Hill in Virginia, Camp Beauregard in Louisiana, Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Gordon in Georgia, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort Pickett in Virginia, Fort Polk in Louisiana and Fort Rucker in Alabama.
Mr Trump’s comments are part of a nationwide review of statues and monuments honoring Confederate officials and conquistadors. The House voted this week forof statues of Confederate officials of the Capitol. However, the future of the bill is uncertain in the Senate.
John Nolen contributed to this report.