Posted May 19, 2016 at 3:02pm
The furor over the Confederate flag resurfaced this week in Congress, nearly a year after the iconic symbol derailed the entire appropriations process. Here’s a look at how the controversy began.
- A mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, kills nine at a Bible study on the evening of June 17, 2015. The church is one of the nation’s oldest historically black congregations (the alleged shooter is currently awaiting trial on both state and federal charges for the attack, which officials have said was racially motivated).
- The presence of the Confederate flag on South Carolina’s state capitol grounds gains national attention following the shooting.
- Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., introduces an amendment to the fiscal 2016 Interior-Environment appropriations bill (HR 2822) to prohibit Confederate flag displays in national parks except where historically necessary.
- Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., introduces two amendments on the same spending bill that would have prevented Confederate flag imagery from being displayed in federal cemeteries and barred the National Park Service from allowing the sale of Confederate flag merchandise in gift shops.
- The Huffman and Jeffries amendments are adopted by voice vote without objection during floor debate on July 7, 2015 on the $30.2 billion Interior-Environment spending bill. But Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., later introduces an amendment allowing the flag’s imagery to be displayed in cemeteries and its sale in National Parks’ gift shops. Democrats loudly object and the bill is pulled from the floor on July 9, stalling all amendments on the matter.
- Amid the ongoing national conversation about the flag as a historic image or a hate symbol, South Carolina GOP Gov. Nikki Haley on July 10 orders the flag removed from the state Capitol.
- The House passes a defense authorization bill on Wednesday, May 18, that includes language allowing the Citadel military college in South Carolina to continue displaying the Confederate flag.
- On Thursday, May 19, the House votes 295-129 to pass its first appropriations bill of the year, the fiscal 2017 $81.6 billion Military Construction-VA bill, which includes an amendment from Huffman that would bar the use of federal funds to display Confederate flag imagery in VA cemeteries.