House panel votes to ban Confederate flag at Pentagon property

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The House Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to ban the display of the Confederate battle flag on all Pentagon property.

The measure was approved Wednesday without debate by voice vote as part of a package of dozens of noncontroversial amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The amendment, from Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), would ban the public display of the flag, including on bumper stickers and clothing, at all Defense Department property, including bases, workspaces and front porches of military housing.

“Recent, tragic events have underscored how much farther we have to go to heal the racial divisions that have plagued this country since our founding,” Brown said in a statement after the vote. “Prohibiting the display of the Confederate flag – a symbol that for so many represents white supremacy, oppression and terror – in our military is an important step in that reckoning.”

The amendment would create exceptions for museums or other educational displays about the Civil War, state flags that incorporate the Confederate emblem, state-issued license plates and grave sites of Confederate soldiers.

The Marine Corps has already banned the flag, as has U.S. Forces Korea, and the Navy has said it would follow suit. No other military service has moved to ban the flag since President Trump raised objections to the Army’s plan to rename bases that are named after Confederate leaders.

The Army said last week it was deferring to Defense Secretary Mark Esper on a potential policy across all the services on the Confederate flag.

Debate over Confederate symbols has reignited amid nationwide protests on racial injustices sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The House Armed Services Committee is also expected to consider an amendment later Wednesday, also expected to be offered by Brown, that would require the Pentagon to strip Confederate names from bases and other property within a year.

Late Tuesday night, Trump vowed to veto the NDAA if it includes such a requirement.

The Senate’s version of the NDAA already includes a requirement to rename bases and other property within three years. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), was approved last month in a voice vote by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Tags Anthony Brown Army Confederate symbols Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Marines Mark Esper Military National Defense Authorization Act Navy
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