House lawmakers want to prevent military construction funds for bases named after Confederates

There are 10 U.S. Army posts named after men who were Confederate generals during the Civil War. Top row, from left: Braxton Bragg, George Edward Pickett, Henry Benning, A.P. Hill and Leonidas Polk. Bottom row, from left: John Brown Gordon, John Bell Hood, Robert E. Lee, Edmund Rucker and Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 6, 2020

WASHINGTON — A new funding bill would prevent military construction funds from being used for projects on installations named after Confederate generals from the Civil War, the latest effort by House lawmakers to address the Confederacy’s legacy within the military.

The bill would prevent any funds to be “obligated, expended, or used to construct a project located on a military installation bearing the name of a Confederate officer, except in the case that a process to replace such names has been initiated,” according to a provision in the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill from the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies’ subpanel of the House Appropriations Committee.

The issue of military bases named after Confederate generals reemerged amid anti-racism and police brutality protests following the death of a Black man, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police on May 25. Legislation introduced in the House and Senate have sought to create a process and timeline to remove Confederacy-related names from 10 Army bases as well as other military assets and property, including two Navy ships.

The 10 Army posts named in honor of Confederate generals are Camp Beauregard and Fort Polk in Louisiana; Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia; Fort Rucker in Alabama; and Fort Hood in Texas.

The funding bill will be debated Monday evening by the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies subpanel.

The legislation is just the latest attempt by lawmakers to remove names and symbols related to the Confederacy. Last Wednesday, an amendment to rename military installations within a year was passed in the House Armed Services Committee’s version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which sets yearly policy and funding priorities for the Pentagon. Another amendment to ban the display of Confederate flags on all Defense Department property was also passed.

Thirty-five Senate Democrats also submitted a bill on June 24 to remove Confederate names from Defense Department property and assets within a year. The standalone bill submitted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., followed an amendment to the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the 2021 NDAA that would set up a process to remove Confederacy names from military property and assets within three years.

Twitter: @caitlinmkenney