WASHINGTON – Today, United States Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and 34 Senate Democrats have introduced standalone 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. The Pentagon must rename the assets within one year.
“Understanding why some monuments to the confederacy were erected makes it clear why they must be removed from public spaces. We do not need monuments to the people who fought against our nation, particularly as we work towards unity and racial justice. History can be taught and learned without statues,” said Senator Cardin. “We have acknowledged systemic racism and inequality in our country, removing hurtful symbols is only the first step. We must be leaders and continue to make meaningful changes. We are learning from mistakes and setting a new precedent of justice and equality.”
“Senate Democrats are putting forward legislation to change the names of our bases and other military assets within one year because we need to stop honoring this ugly legacy immediately,” said Senator Warren. “SASC has already passed a version of my proposal in the annual defense bill — and Senate Republicans should make sure that bipartisan compromise stays intact.”
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), 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-Hawaii), 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-Hawaii), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
The full text of the legislation can be found here.
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.