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House version of defense budget provides funding to rename bases

House version of defense budget provides funding to rename bases
Troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., engage in howitzer practice. The base is one of 10 named after Confederate military leaders. A House version of the defense budget allots $1 million for name changes. Photo by S1C Jacob McDonald/U.S. Army 

July 8 (UPI) -- A provision in the House version of the $694.6 billion defense budget includes $1 million to rename U.S. Army facilities named after Confederate leaders.

The bill by the Democratic-led House Appropriations Committee calls for an account in the Fiscal Year 2021 defense bill dedicated to "expenses for the renaming of Army installations, facilities, roads and streets named after Confederate leaders and officers" within one year, a text released on Tuesday read. It noted that the Army, with 10 bases named after military officers of the Confederate States of America, has "the preponderance of the entities to change."

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The Senate version of the bill also includes funding for name changes, but with a three-year time limit.

Among the most prominent bases being considered for a potential name change is Fort Bragg, N.C. It has been named since 1918 after Gen. Braxton Bragg, a North Carolina native and West Point graduate who served in the U.S. Army in the Mexican-American War before leading Confederate troops in the Civil War. Similarly, Fort Benning, Ga., is named after Henry L. Benning, a brigadier general in the Confederate Army.

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The Army has said it is open to renaming the bases, but President Donald Trump opposes the idea and has threatened to veto the bill if a requirement to change names is included. The Pentagon has moved to ban display of the Confederate flag on bases.

The controversy is part of an ongoing national debate over Confederate symbolism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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