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Defense spending bill includes $1M for Army to change Confederate base names

Defense spending bill includes $1M for Army to change Confederate base names
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House Democrats’ version of the annual defense spending bill would give the Army $1 million to help remove Confederate names from bases and other property.

The bill would set aside $1 million from the Army’s operations and maintenance account to use on “expenses for the renaming of Army installations, facilities, roads and streets named after confederate leaders and officers,” according to draft text released by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

The provision is included in the $694.6 billion Pentagon spending bill for fiscal 2021 that the House Appropriations defense subcommittee is scheduled to consider behind closed doors Wednesday.

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A Democratic summary of the bill said the money would be provided because “the Army has the preponderance of the entities to change.” The Army has 10 bases named after Confederate military officers.

It’s the latest move in Congress to nudge or require the Pentagon to rename properties that have Confederate monikers as President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE continues to express opposition to the move.

Amid nationwide protest on racial injustices that reignited debates about Confederate symbols, the Army said last month it was open to renaming the bases. But days later, Trump said he would “not even consider” changing the names.

Trump has also threatened to veto a defense policy bill if it includes a requirement to rename the bases.

Both the House and the Senate versions of the policy bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), include such a requirement. The House version would require the bases to be renamed in one year, while the Senate version would require it to happen within three years.

Some Republicans in the Senate are hoping to strip the requirement out of the upper chamber’s NDAA when it finishes consideration of the bill later this month, but an amendment from Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyO'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Rush Limbaugh lauds Hawley: 'This guy is the real deal' MORE (R-Mo.) to do that faces an uphill climb to getting a vote.

Meanwhile, a separate spending bill from House Democrats that covers military construction would block funding for construction projects at bases that have Confederate names unless the properties are in the process of being renamed.