June 15, 2020

Duckworth, Durbin Join Booker, Lee to Re-Introduce Bicameral Bill to Remove Confederate Statues from Capitol


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) to re-introduce a bicameral bill in the Senate and House to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol. The Confederate Monument Removal Act would remove all statues of people who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from the National Statuary Hall Collection within 120 days.


“Honoring the ‘lost cause’ of those who waged war against the United States of America in defense of their right to own, sell and kill Black Americans, has no place in our nation—especially not in the halls of the Capitol,” said Duckworth. “The statues in the Capitol building do not reflect where we are as a nation and should be replaced to honor those who fought to keep America free, not people who fought to maintain slavery at the expense of the Union. As Americans from coast to coast continue to cry out for racial justice, I’m proud to join my colleagues on this legislation so we can make sure those honored in our nation’s Capitol are reflective of our true American values.”


“Confederate leaders who took up arms to destroy the Union and perpetuate slavery deserve no place of honor in our nation’s Capitol,” said Durbin.


“The National Statuary Hall Collection is intended to honor American patriots who served, sacrificed, or made tremendous contributions to our nation,” said Booker. “Those who committed treason against the United States of America and led our nation into its most painful and bloody war to preserve the institution of slavery are not patriots and should not be afforded such a rare honor in this sacred space. Removing these statues from the Capitol is long overdue. How can the American public have faith in the ability of its government to address the systemic biases that affect our nation, from fixing our broken criminal justice system to ensuring equal access to the ballot when it continues to pay homage to those who took up arms against the U.S., individuals who killed their fellow Americans in order to preserve the vile institution of slavery? Their continued presence in the hallowed halls of Congress is an enduring – and painful – affirmation that we are still falling short of our ideal that we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Americans in all 50 states and millions of people around the world are marching to protest racism and police violence directed at people of color, and yet across the country, Confederate statues and monuments still pay tribute to white supremacy and slavery in public spaces,” said Lee. “It is time to tell the truth about what these statues are: hateful symbols that have no place in our society and certainly should not be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol.”

The National Statuary Hall Collection was created in 1864 with a law that allows states to select two statues of deceased individuals to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol. Under the Confederate Monument Removal Act, states can reclaim Confederate statues that are currently part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. Statues that are not reclaimed by states would be turned over to the Smithsonian. 


The Confederate Monument Removal Act is cosponsored by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Chris Coons (D-DE).   

Full text of the bill is available here