Bill would ban Confederate flag from VA cemeteries
Two House Democrats are proposing legislation that would ban the Confederate flag from cemeteries operated by the Veterans Affairs Department.
The bill was introduced by Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) just hours after House GOP leadership pulled an Interior Department spending bill off the floor because of a fight over allowing graves in federal cemeteries to be decorated with the Confederate flag.
“The confederate flag is a symbol of hate and intolerance, and it will forever be associated with the injustices of slavery and Jim Crow. It's time for the Department of Veteran Affairs to change their policy allowing the Confederate Flag at cemeteries honoring American war heroes,” Gallego, an Iraq War veteran and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
The VA currently allows the Confederate flag to be displayed on Memorial Day as well as Confederate Memorial Day at 131 sites.
Gallego said the flag “does not represent the values our veterans fought to defend. It is a painful reminder of a terrible time in our history when we treated human beings as less than. Our country needs to heal, and VA cemeteries should be a place of reflection, remembrance and tribute to those that embody the very best in our country.”
Clay called the Confederate flag a “treasonous symbol of a war of insurrection instigated by white supremacists who made war on the United States to preserve the horrors of slavery and the cursed economic system that it fueled by subjugating and humiliating millions of African Americans for almost 300 years.”
“This bloody relic of racial terrorism, which was embraced last month by Dylann Roof as he gunned down nine innocent souls in prayer at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, is the very same banner of hatred that has been proudly displayed by the Ku Klux Klan for 150 years,” Clay said. “It has no place in any national cemetery administered by the Veterans Administration.”
Earlier Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) forced a vote on a resolution that would have removed Mississippi's state flag, which includes the Confederate flag, from the House side of the Capitol.