Depictions of Jefferson Davis and Roger Taney would be removed under the provision
Fox News reports Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee on Monday released a draft of a funding bill that includes a provision to remove statues and busts of those who served the Confederacy or have “unambiguous records of racial intolerance” from the U.S. Capitol, setting up a potential fight over the issue as President Trump emphasizes preserving such tributes in at least some circumstances.
The bill, which provides more than $4 billion to fund the legislative branch as part of the fiscal year that begins in October, is almost certain not to pass in its current form due to how Congress has run its appropriations process in recent years. But it could serve as a template for continuing resolutions that keep the government running, and the statue-removal provision could make its way into that legislation.
“The bill includes language directing the Architect of the Capitol to remove statues or busts in the U.S. Capitol that represent figures who participated in the Confederate Army or government, as well as the statues of individuals with unambiguous records of racial intolerance, Charles Aycock, John C. Calhoun, and James Paul Clarke, and the bust of Roger B. Taney,” an online summary of the bill reads.
— House Appropriations (@AppropsDems) July 6, 2020
A Republican aide close to the appropriations process on Tuesday criticized Democrats for how they went about bringing up the removal of the statues.
“This is a policy rider that should be considered by the authorizing committees and the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library, not as part of the appropriations process,” the aide said. “We hope that Democrats will work with us on bills the President will actually sign into law.”
A different senior GOP aide added: “We are headed toward a Continuing Resolution, so these House appropriations bills are just posturing.”
Aycock was a federal prosecutor in North Carolina in the late 1800s and was elected that state’s governor in 1900. But, due to his racist views, Duke University and East Carolina University have removed his name from residence halls in recent years, according to the Charlotte Observer. Calhoun was a vice president to Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson and fought in favor of slavery in a slew of other government positions he held in the early years of the republic.
Clark was a senator from Arkansas who supported white supremacy. Taney was the chief justice of the Supreme Court who wrote the opinion in the Dred Scott case, which ruled that Blacks, free or otherwise, “were not intended to be” American citizens under the Constitution, a ruling that contributed significantly to the start of the Civil War.