WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) co-sponsored standalone legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) 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. The Pentagon must rename the assets within one year.
“This step is long overdue,” said Murphy. “Our armed services are here to protect all Americans, and our military bases and assets should reflect the highest ideals of military service, not venerate a shameful and racist past.”
“Military bases should honor genuine military heroes, not Confederate generals who fought to preserve slavery. Renaming bases and monuments is an idea whose time has come, with overwhelming Senate bipartisan support,” said Blumenthal. “The time is now – it’s right and necessary.”
On June 9th, Warren announced she will be introducing an amendment to the annual defense bill to rename all military bases and assets named after the Confederacy. Changing the names of our bases won't erase the history of slavery and legacy of white supremacy in our country but we should not be celebrating those who took up arms against the United States to preserve the institution of chattel slavery.
The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) passed a bipartisan version of Senator Warren's amendment 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 proposal also creates a process for identifying all military assets where the Confederacy is honored and implementing the new removal requirement. After the bipartisan proposal was adopted, Senator Warren, SASC Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) along with other SASC Democrats urged President Donald Trump to support it.
In addition to Murphy and Blumenthal, Warren's standalone legislation, The Removing Confederate Names and Symbols from Our Military Act, is co-sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai'i), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
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.
The full text of the bill can be found here.