House passes bill to remove Confederate statues from U.S. Capitol

The 285-120 vote divided Republican lawmakers, with 67 voting in favor and 120 voting against the bill.

Published: June 29, 2021 9:37pm

Updated: June 29, 2021 10:58pm

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation that would remove Confederate statues and busts from the Capitol building.

The 285-120 vote divided Republican lawmakers, with 67 voting in favor and 120 voting against the bill.

The legislation also calls for replacing the bust of former Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney with a bust of the nation's first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Taney authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision.

In addition to Taney's statue, the bill also specifically calls for the removal of statues of Charles Brantley Aycock, John Caldwell Calhoun and James Paul Clarke. Aycock was a North Carolina governor, Calhoun served as a vice president and as a member of the U.S. House, and Clarke served as a U.S. senator and as the governor of Arkansas.

The present rules for the National Statuary Hall Collection only permit the removal of statues if the state government that provided the piece approves of removing it, according to The Hill. The outlet noted that North Carolina and Arkansas are already slated to replace the Aycock and Clarke pieces, but the works will remain in the U.S. Capitol until the new statues are completed. 

"This bill naming statues that are in the process of being replaced is nothing more than what I believe is an attempt by Democrats to prematurely thwart the authority of states in order to claim the moral high ground for themselves,” Arkansas GOP Rep. Bruce Westerman said, according to The Hill.

The outlet noted that the House chamber previously approved a version of the bill in 2020.

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