House would ban Confederate flags on VA cemetery flagpoles

House would ban Confederate flags on VA cemetery flagpoles

US Congressman Jared Huffman representing the state of California offered the amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017.

The House of Representatives voted for an amendment Thursday to bar the Confederate flag from being flown at cemeteries operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It would still allow small Confederate flags to adorn individual gravestones, but ban them from flag poles and prohibit federal funds from providing and displaying them.

But many Republicans voted against it - 159, in fact - while about half as many (84) voted for it. And if Democrats have their way, the Confederate flag will be a campaign issue in the fall.

It's a dramatic shift for the House Republican conference.

Huffman attached a similar amendment to an Interior Department spending bill previous year after the racially motivated shooting at a historically black Charleston, S.C. church.

South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn said he would continue attempts to resolve the issue in his state. The flag fell in Alabama as well as on the campus of the University of Mississippi. "Cutting off Federal funding for a ROTC program on the ground that an institution displays the flag, however, raises First Amendment concerns". The House passed a defense authorization bill that included allowing the Citadel in SC to continue flying the Confederate symbol, according to Roll Call.

But Democrats trying to take down the Confederate flag got further Thursday than they ever had.

Huffman said in a statement following the vote that it was "shameful" two thirds of House Republicans voted against the amendment.

House GOP leaders late Tuesday night denied a bipartisan amendment from Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) that would have stripped the language out of the bill.

The procedural motion likely won't be the last time House Democrats try to force a vote related to the Confederate flag.

But it's not like the flag's supporters have disappeared. "[The Islamic State]. Don't be like ISIL".

A spokesman for Westmoreland later sought to distance the lawmaker from Mr. Sanborn's comments, The Hill reports.

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