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Dems file bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol

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Congressional Democrats filed legislation on Thursday to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol in the wake of violence around a white supremacist rally in Virginia last month.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced the proposal in the House and Senate. Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (Mass.), Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) as well as 46 House members are supporting the legislation.

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“Those who committed treason against the United States of America and led our nation into its most painful and bloody war are not patriots and should not be afforded such a rare honor in this sacred space,” Booker said.

Lee added that “Confederate statues and monuments pay tribute to white supremacy and slavery in public spaces.”

The legislation would remove the roughly 12 Confederate statues currently included in the National Statuary Hall Collection within 120 days.

Currently only states have the power to replace statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection, with each state allowed two statues in the collection.

Under the Democratic proposal, states would be able to reclaim their statues. Any statues that are not reclaimed would be given to the Smithsonian.

Debate over what to do with Confederate statues was reignited last month after violence erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

The rally began as a protest against the Charlottesville City Council’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

But since the rally turned violent and led to the death of a counterprotester, other localities have moved to take down Confederate statues, with some lawmakers arguing that the Capitol should consider following suit.

The Democrats’ legislation likely faces an uphill battle to becoming law. A spokesman for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said last month that whether or not to remove the statues was “decisions for those states to make.”

Tags Cory Booker Ed Markey Paul Ryan Ron Wyden
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