Lawmakers on Capitol Hill took what should go down in history books as a record-fast vote, deciding in the span of two minutes worth of floor debate to shoot down the ability of federal cemeteries to display Confederate flags, even on the historical Confederate Memorial Day holiday.
The vote in the House pushes the matter forward, but does not yet solidify it as law.
Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., added the amendment to the Interior Department’s 2016 spending bill. The text of the amendment seeks to end a policy that allows for the display of the flag, albeit temporarily, cemeteries overseen by the National Park Service, the Hill reported.
Nobody opposed it and lawmakers pushed it forward with a voice vote. The final vote on Interior’s funding measure is set for Thursday, the Hill reported.
In 2010, National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis sent out a directive giving the thumbs-up to cemeteries under federal control placing the Confederate flag on select gravesites – predominantly, those of Civil War veterans – for a set period of time. According to the directive, the flags have to be taken down “as soon as possible,” and certainly by the end of Confederate Memorial Day, the Hill reported.
But lawmakers say even that minimal display is too offensive, in light of the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, carried out by a man, Dylann Roof, who was once pictured with the banner.
“We can honor that history without celebrating the Confederate flag and all of the dreadful things that it symbolizes,” Huffman said, the Hill reported.
The House just adopted another amendment – also from Huffman – that sets the stage for a new National Park Service policy to halt business deadlines with contractors who want to sell gift shop items containing the image of the Confederate flag.