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House bid to remove Confederate statues at Capitol sets up fight with Senate

Chris Marquette, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

States can ask the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to approve a replacement. Prior to this, the state's legislature must adopt a resolution and the governor must sign off. The statue in question must have been displayed in the Capitol for at least 10 years. The committee can waive the requirement for cause if the state wants.

These items would be removed from the Capitol under the House spending bill:

The busts of John Cabell Breckinridge and Roger Brooke Taney.

These statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection: Charles Aycock (North Carolina), John C. Calhoun (South Carolina), James Paul Clarke (Arkansas), Jefferson Davis (Mississippi), James Zachariah George (Mississippi), Wade Hampton III (South Carolina), John E. Kenna (West Virginia), Robert E. Lee (Virginia), Uriah M. Rose (Arkansas), Edmund Kirby Smith (Florida), Alexander Hamilton Stephens (Georgia), Zebulon Vance (North Carolina), Joseph Wheeler (Alabama), Edward Douglass White (Louisiana).

In another response to the reckoning about race sparked by Floyd's killing, the draft bill would also increase the transparency of the Capitol Police, a secretive department. The department, which is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, would be held to a FOIA-like standard. It also would be required to make inspector general reports publicly available and compile reports on racial profiling by the force.

"If we are going to demand change throughout the country, we must show that we are willing to start in our own backyard," Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chairman Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, said of calls in Congress and across the nation for policing overhauls.

Funding for the department would remain unchanged at $464 million, significantly lower than the $520.2 million proposed in President Donald Trump's budget for fiscal 2021.

Under the fiscal 2021 spending measure, immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program would be allowed to work in Congress.

"Dreamers are Americans and should be able to serve their country in this body," Ryan said of the provision.

 

The proposal for House and joint operations with the Senate is $207 million more than enacted for the current fiscal year, according to the summary from the House Appropriations Committee. The bill does not include Senate-only spending, which is under the purview of Hyde-Smith's panel.

Budgets for individual member offices, called the Members Representational Allowance, would get a $25 million boost over the current fiscal year to $640 million. This money goes to staffer salaries, office supplies and other such expenses. House committees would get a $3 million increase to $162.8 million.

The bill would not include a pay increase for lawmakers, which Ryan lamented as he noted the rising cost of living in the District of Columbia and how some members have resorted to sleeping in their offices. Congressional pay has been frozen since 2009.

A full committee markup is set for Friday.

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