(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and 34 of her Senate Democratic colleagues to introduce legislation requiring the Pentagon to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America and anyone who voluntarily served it from all military bases and other assets of the Department of Defense. Under the Democratic proposal, the Pentagon must rename the assets within one year. The new legislation comes just before the Senate is set to begin work on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the country’s major defense authorization bill.
“As our country engages in the long overdue work of addressing systemic racism in our society and our institutions, this legislation is clear step in the right direction. This is an idea with bipartisan support, and Congress should make it happen as a part of our work to heal from our long legacy of racial injustice,” Senator Murray said.
The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has already passed a bipartisan amendment proposed by Senator Warren to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy and anyone who voluntarily served it from bases and other property of the U.S. military within three years. The new legislation also creates a process for identifying all military assets where the Confederacy is honored and implementing the new removal requirement. While changing the names of bases won’t erase the history of slavery and legacy of white supremacy in our country, the legislation asserts that the federal government should not be celebrating those who took up arms against the United States to preserve the institution of chattel slavery.
The Removing Confederate Names and Symbols from Our Military Act will:
- Require the Secretary of Defense to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense. Grave markers will be exempted.
- Define the term ‘‘asset’’ to include any base, installation, street, building, facility, aircraft, ship, plane, weapon, equipment, or any other property owned or controlled by the Department of Defense.
- Require the Secretary of Defense to submit a certification in writing to SASC and the House Armed Services Committee detailing that removal has been completed.
- Prohibit the future display of any name, symbol, display, monument or paraphernalia that honors or commemorates the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily.