The GOP-controlled House of Representatives approved legislation Thursday that restricts that display of the Confederate Flag on cemeteries run by Department of Veterans Affairs.
Even allowing the floor vote was a major moment for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), as GOP leadership has largely avoided holding votes on the contentious issue after the the mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, reignited the debate over Confederate flags. Similar legislation derailed an appropriations bill last summer, when former Rep. John Boehner held the speaker's gavel.
"Last year it stopped the appropriations process in its tracks," Ryan said at press conference after Thursday's vote, according to The Hill. "What changed is we have to get through these things, and if we're going to have open rules and appropriations, which we have, which is regular order, people are going to have to take tough votes."
The House voted 265-159, with 84 Republicans joining nearly all of the Democrats, to approve the amendment, which was part of the fiscal 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, according to The Post and Courier. The amendment had been introduced late last night by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), and it bars large-scale displays of the flag at V.A. ceremonies, while allowing families of deceased veterans to display small flags on individual graves on certain days of the year, according to The Hill
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