Rep. Huffman Slams House GOP for Being Oblivious to Racial Tensions by Blocking Votes on Amendments to Curtail Sales, Displays of Confederate Flags
Washington, D.C.- Tonight, the House Committee on Rules shut down public debate and votes on two amendments offered by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) to stop sales of Confederate flag merchandise in National Park Service (NPS) stores and to disallow any grave in any Federal cemetery operated by the Park Service to be decorated with a Confederate flag.
“In a week when most Americans are reflecting on our country's need for racial reconciliation and trying to move forward, House Republicans are doubling down on our country's racist past. Shamefully, and despite their own contrary procedural rulings a year ago, they used the House Rules Committee tonight to interpose a bogus rationale to derail amendments that would ban the racist, hateful public displays of Confederate flags on federal property, including our national cemeteries. Knowing that these amendments had bipartisan support and would have passed the House, they chose to kill them on trumped-up procedural grounds in the dark of night. It has become clear that a vocal and powerful bloc of the GOP conference will stop at nothing to allow this anachronistic symbol of treason and hate to prevail. Last year, immediately following the tragedy in Charleston, House Republicans even derailed the entire spending bill for the Interior Department in order to prevent my amendments from receiving a public debate and vote,” said Rep. Huffman.
‘If House Republicans cannot support the movement to take down the Confederate battle flag on federal property, they should at least have the guts to cast their votes in public and let it be known to voters where they stand. Instead, knowing that a majority of the House and the American people oppose continued displays of this hateful symbol of treason on public lands, they are choosing to slink away and hide behind the Rules Committee amendment process. Well, the American people are watching. They know House Republicans just contradicted their own procedural rulings of a year ago when these same amendments were ruled in order. They know the amendments would have passed, and some House members would have been forced to go on record in a vote that speaks directly to the state of race relations in this country. Instead of facing tough issues, as he promised to do when he was sworn-in, Speaker Ryan has buckled to the so-called "Freedom Caucus" and used his Rules Committee to sweep one of those tough issues under the rug, hoping the American people wouldn't notice. This is deeply disappointing, and it will be noticed by far more Americans than what House Republicans have cynically calculated."
Just last week, Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and 82 members of Congress urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to take administrative action to ban Confederate Flags from veteran cemeteries
And just last month, despite its earlier House approval, the Republican House majority rushed through a partisan conference report in the dead of night during the recent congressional “sit-in” which omitted an amendment, introduced by Reps. Huffman, Gallego, and Ellison, to the 2017 VA funding bill to prohibit the large-scale display of the Confederate battle flag at cemeteries administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).