WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) re-introduced a bicameral bill in the Senate and House to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol. The Confederate Monument Removal Act would remove all statues of people who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from the National Statuary Hall Collection within 120 days.
Booker and Lee originally introduced the bill in 2017.
“The National Statuary Hall Collection is intended to honor American patriots who served, sacrificed, or made tremendous contributions to our nation,” Senator Booker said. “Those who committed treason against the United States of America and led our nation into its most painful and bloody war to preserve the institution of slavery are not patriots and should not be afforded such a rare honor in this sacred space.”
“Removing these statues from the Capitol is long overdue. How can the American public have faith in the ability of its government to address the systemic biases that affect our nation, from fixing our broken criminal justice system to ensuring equal access to the ballot when it continues to pay homage to those who took up arms against the U.S., individuals who killed their fellow Americans in order to preserve the vile institution of slavery?” Booker added.
“Their continued presence in the hallowed halls of Congress is an enduring – and painful – affirmation that we are still falling short of our ideal that we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
“Americans in all 50 states and millions of people around the world are marching to protest racism and police violence directed at people of color, and yet across the country, Confederate statues and monuments still pay tribute to white supremacy and slavery in public spaces,” said Congresswoman Lee. “It is time to tell the truth about what these statues are: hateful symbols that have no place in our society and certainly should not be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol.”
The National Statuary Hall Collection was created in 1864 with a law that allows states to select two statues of deceased individuals to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol. Under the Confederate Monument Removal Act, states can reclaim Confederate statues that are currently part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. Statues that are not reclaimed by states would be turned over to the Smithsonian.
The Confederate Monument Removal Act is cosponsored by Senators Harris (D-CA), Warren (D-MA), Schumer (D-NY), Markey (D-MA), Schatz (D-HI), Brown (D-OH), Blumenthal (D-CT), Sanders (D-NH), Bennet (D-CO), Hirono (D-HI), Duckworth(D-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN), Merkley (D-OR), Van Hollen (D-MD), Durbin (D-IL) and Coons (D-DE).
Full text of the bill is available here.