A provision to prohibit displaying the Confederate flag in national cemeteries was removed from the House's spending package just before the bill passed early Thursday.
Republicans called the vote at 3 a.m. with no formal debate beforehand. The measure, introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., specifically would have banned flying the flag over mass graves of Civil War dead, or displaying it at all in cemeteries run by the Veterans Affairs Department. The measure was added to a VA funding bill in May by a vote of 265-159, with only one Democrat opposed and 84 Republicans for it.
Despite the support, the measure was dropped during negotiations with the Senate over a final VA appropriation bill, according to The Hill.
Calls to end the display of the Confederate flag emerged in the wake of the mass shooting in nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, a year ago, in an attempt to start a race war, according to NPR.
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, along with other Palmetto State legislators, had the flag removed from atop the Statehouse, where it had flown for over 50 years, The Herald in Rock Hill reported
The Southern Baptist Convention, America's largest protestant denomination with over 15 million members, officially urged their members on June 14 to stop displaying the flag, labeling it as a symbol of racial antagonisms.
A blog post
by the church's public policy group announced the decision, saying "The Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly to repudiate the display of the Confederate Battle Flag. This conservative evangelical denomination gathered ... to stand together against one lingering divisive symbol."
Earlier, the National Cathedral
in Washington said it would remove stained glass windows that include representations of the controversial emblem. The flag images were placed in the windows in 1953 at the urging of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and included inscriptions declaring Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson to be "exemplary Christian people."
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