Senate Democrats on Friday introduced a bill to remove statues of Confederate figures and other defenders of slavery and segregation from display in the U.S. Capitol after a broad bipartisan majority of the House passed it last month.
The bill would remove 11 statues of Confederate figures currently on display in the Capitol, including ones of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Vice President Alexander Stephens.
It would also remove statues of three advocates for slavery and segregation: U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, Sen. James Clarke of Arkansas and Gov. Charles Ayock of North Carolina.
A bust of Roger Taney, the Supreme Court justice who authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which held that the Constitution does not extend citizenship to Black Americans, would be replaced with one of Thurgood Marshall, the court’s first Black justice.
A total of 67 House Republicans voted with all Democrats last month to pass the bill, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise, with McCarthy stating in a floor speech, “All of the statues being removed by this bill are statues of Democrats.”
The bill will need support from at least 10 Republicans in the Senate, assuming all Democrats in the chamber support it, in order to overcome the filibuster, which requires most legislation to get 60 votes.
“Those who committed treason against the United States to uphold and preserve the institution of slavery should not be afforded such a rare honor in this sacred space,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), one of the bill’s original co-sponsors and one of just three Black senators, said in a statement, calling to “remove statues from the Capitol that perpetuate bigotry and hatred.”
Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), one of the 120 House Republicans who voted against the bill last month, said it is “animated by the Critical Race Theory concepts of structural racism, microaggressions, and a United States based solely on white supremacy.” He offered a similar explanation for his vote against a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
What To Watch For
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters last month he believes his Senate counterpart Chuck Schumer will give the bill a vote on the floor. While any senator may place a hold on the bill by objecting to passing it unanimously – as Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) did last year, when Republicans held the majority – Schumer can circumvent them by adding it to the Senate calendar.