WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed on a voice vote an amendment sponsored by U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) that will prohibit the allocation of federal funds in connection with the purchase or display of a confederate flag on a public building or facility under the authority of the National Park Service.
The amendment, which is attached to H.R. 2822, an appropriations bill related to the funding of the National Park Service, specifies “none of the funds made available to the National Park Service by this Act may be used for the purchase or display of a confederate flag with the exception of specific circumstances where the flags provide historical context.” The passage of the Jeffries amendment comes in the aftermath of the racially motivated shooting deaths of nine African-American members of the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The continued glorification of the confederate battle flag and its use by white supremacists like Dylann Roof sparked national outrage.
Throughout the country, people of good will on both sides of the aisle have come together to challenge the flag’s legitimacy. The South Carolina state senate, with the support of Governor Nikki Haley, has voted to remove it from the grounds of its state capitol. Similar efforts are underway throughout the country, largely in the Deep South.
Rep. Jeffries said: “The confederate battle flag is a divisive symbol of oppression that has no place in a civilized society. Our country has come a long way since the abolition of slavery, but there is much more to be done in order to eradicate the cancer of racial hatred. By prohibiting the use of federal funds in connection with the purchase or display of the confederate battle flag, the House has chosen to embrace progress over division. It is time to banish the confederate battle flag to the dustbin of history once and for all.”
The Jeffries Amendment is designed to codify in law a policy directive from the Department of the Interior issued on June 24, 2015 that “confederate flags should not be flown in units of the national park system and related sites.”