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House passes bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol

The House on Wednesday voted to approve a measure that would remove Confederate statues from the Capitol. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The House on Wednesday voted to approve a measure that would remove Confederate statues from the Capitol. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- The House on Wednesday passed legislation that would require the removal of statues of people who served the Confederacy or otherwise defended slavery.

The bill passed by a vote of 305-113 with every house Democrat, 72 Republicans and libertarian Rep. Justin Amash voting in favor, while all votes against the measure came from Republicans.

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"Let's continue to correct the division that exists today, not just on this floor, but in this country," said Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. "And if we can stand together in this instance, we can surely stand together and make this country, at a time in places of civil unrest, a better place for every single American."

The legislation calls for statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederacy to be removed from display in the Capitol complex and would order states to replace such statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection.

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It also calls for the removal of statues of John C. Calhoun, Charles Ayock and James P. Clarke for defending slavery, segregation and white supremacy.

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, also noted the importance of passing this legislation in the wake of the death of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a civil rights icon, on Friday.

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"I think it's so appropriate that we do this also in honor of Mr. Lewis," Bass said. "The main honor for Mr. Lewis, to me, is to get a signature on the Voting Rights Act. But this is also a way to honor his legacy because what he fought for every day is the exact opposite of these symbols."

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The vote comes a day after the House passed a defense bill including a provision to remove Confederate names from military bases, which President Donald Trump has said he would veto.

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