The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to remove statues honoring those who upheld slavery or backed the Confederacy from the Capitol building, which displays statues selected by all 50 states.
It is the second year in a row that the House passed the bill, which the then-Republican-controlled Senate in 2020 declined to take up. Democrats now have a razor-thin Senate majority, which could allow them to force a vote on the measure, which would need the support of 10 Republicans to pass.
The bill passed the House 285-120 with all the votes against the measure coming from Republicans.
As reported by The Hill, some in the GOP backed the measure. But others argued it was undermining states’ authority, particularly as some Southern states are already moving to replace the statues.
“This bill naming statues that are in the process of being replaced is nothing more than what I believe is an attempt by Democrats to prematurely thwart the authority of states in order to claim the moral high ground for themselves,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman, of Arkansas, The Hill said.
There was also a warning among some Republicans about a so-called slippery slope in the action to pull the historic statues.
"Unfortunately, Democrats, animated by the Critical Race Theory concepts of structural racism, microaggressions, and a United States based solely on white supremacy, have chosen to remove statues that underscore the failures of our pre-1861 Constitution. Make no mistake, those who won the West and George Washington are next," said Rep. Matt Rosendale, who hails from Montana.
The statues and busts targeted by the "Remove Hate" bill include one honoring former U.S. Chief Justice Roger Taney, who authored a key decision supporting slavery. They also include leaders of the rebellious Confederacy -- whose battle flag was seen in the Capitol on Jan. 6 when supporters of then-President Donald Trump launched a deadly attack that attempted to overturn his election defeat.
Taney's bust would be replaced by one of former Supreme Court Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black man to serve on the high court.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said removing the statues will not erase the stain of racist acts from U.S. history, nor will it erase racism in the United States today. But she asked, "How can we expect to end the scourge of racism ... when we allow the worst perpetrators of that racism to be lauded in the halls of Congress?"
Opponents, beyond the arguments of overreach, said it would be wrong to dictate to individual U.S. states whom they can honor by sending statues to the Capitol. Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama said the bill was an example of "cancel culture and historical revisionism" by "elitists who claim they know more than regular citizens."
Taney wrote the majority opinion in the 1857 "Dred Scott" case, ruling that Black Americans could not be considered citizens and that Congress could not prohibit slavery. It later was overturned by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was adopted in 1868.
Newsmax contributed to this report.
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