The House referred a resolution on Thursday that would remove symbols of the Confederacy from the Capitol and adjacent office buildings to the committee level for possible later consideration.
Democratic Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDemocratic anger grows over treatment of Haitian migrants Black Caucus meets with White House over treatment of Haitian migrants The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in MORE, the sole African-American member of the Mississippi delegation, introduced the measure Wednesday afternoon to remove his state's flag, which includes the Confederate image, from the House side of the Capitol complex.
Thompson's resolution is privileged, which forces the House to expedite its consideration. The House vote on Thursday of 240-184 sends his resolution to the House Administration Committee for further review, instead of immediately voting on the measure.
Democrats uniformly opposed the move to delay consideration, while all but one Republican voted in favor.
Mississippi's flag has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the racially motivated shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., last week.
Both of Mississippi's senators, Republicans Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, have called on the state to redesign a new flag that doesn't include the Confederate symbol. Additionally, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) urged the state legislature to remove the Confederate flag from its grounds.
"As someone who’s lived his entire life in the state of Mississippi and had to endure a symbol that represented bigotry, hatred and everything this country is not, I’m convinced that an effort to remove this flag from the hallowed halls of the House of Representatives is the right thing to do," Thompson said on the House floor.
"This is one step toward getting us healed as a nation," he added.
But some lawmakers wanted the resolution to go through the committee process first instead of an immediate floor vote.
“I think this resolution should be referred to the committee to give other members an opportunity to weigh in,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said.
Thompson’s resolution would authorize the removal of any state flag on the House side of the Capitol complex that contains a portion of the Confederate symbol and donate them to the Library of Congress. However, it would not apply to flags displayed by a lawmaker's office.
If the resolution is enacted, the Mississippi flag that hangs along the underground subway between the Capitol and Rayburn House Office Building would have to come down. The hallway is lined with the flags of all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.