Congress passed a proposal on Thursday that essentially bans Confederate flags from national cemeteries. With a 265-159 vote, the proposal makes it illegal to display the Confederate flag in Department of Veteran Affairs cemeteries – even on individual grave sites that honor soldiers who fought for the Confederacy, except on Memorial Day and Confederate Memorial Day.
Introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman (D) of California, the proposal received support from 84 Republicans and all but two Democrats. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) of Georgia, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, voted against the amendment, while Representative Betty McCollum (D) of Minnesota voted “present.”
Huffman’s proposal was added as an amendment to the Veteran Affairs spending bill, and it remains uncertain whether it will become law.
“Over 150 years ago, slavery was abolished. Why in the year 2016 are we still condoning displays of this hateful symbol on our sacred national cemeteries?” asked Huffman. Few opposed the proposal during its floor debate, but Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R) of Georgia compared banning the Confederate flag to ISIS cultural cleansing.