US : House passes bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol

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A statue of Robert E. Lee is on display on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to veto a House funding bill over a provision requiring the names of Confederate soldiers and leaders be stripped from military bases.

The House vote comes amid a nationwide reckoning over which American historical figures are commemorated with statues or monuments.

Names and statues of men who owned slaves or fought on the pro-slavery side of the Civil War specifically have been targeted in the nationwide protests against police brutality and racism sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd.

If the legislation passes both chambers, it will need the signature of President Trump, who has opposed the removal of historic statues.

The Democratic-led House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to ditch statues of Confederate leaders from the Capitol.

The bill — requiring the removal of at least 10 statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection — passed with a bipartisan vote of 305-113.

The statues include those of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, and his vice president Alexander Stephens.

It would also immediately remove three statues honoring men who defended slavery, segregation and white supremacy, including one of former Vice President John C. Calhoun.

A 2-foot-high marble bust of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney — the author of the 1857 Dred Scott decision that declared African Americans couldn’t be citizens — would also be pulled.

“Defenders and purveyors of sedition, slavery, segregation and white supremacy have no place in this temple of liberty,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said at a news conference ahead of the House vote.

The Maryland Democrat said it was appropriate that Taney’s bust would be replaced with one of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the high court’s first black justice.

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