Rep. Behind Confederate Flag Vote: GOP Leadership Asked Me To Do It

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July 9, 2015 12:09 p.m.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) issued a statement on Thursday explaining his decision to introduce and then cancel a vote on an “important and sensitive issue,” namely his amendment that would have preserved the display of Confederate flag in national parks.

“The amendment offered last night to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill was brought to me by Leadership at the request of some southern Members of the Republican Caucus,” he said in a statement obtained by TPM.

Republicans including Calvert called the vote on Wednesday evening after the House passed amendments to the Interior spending bill on Tuesday that restricted the display of the Confederate flags on federal land.

Calvert said that his amendement would have simply “codified existing National Park Service policy set by the Obama administration,” to make sure the flag could still be displayed in a “historical and educational context.”

“The intent of the Leadership’s amendment was to clear up any confusion and maintain the Obama administration’s policies with respect to those historical and educational exceptions,” he said.

Calvert concluded by saying “I regret not conferring with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle.”

Read the whole statement:

The amendment offered last night to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill was brought to me by Leadership at the request of some southern Members of the Republican Caucus. The Leadership amendment would have codified existing National Park Service policy set by the Obama administration. Those Obama administration policies prohibit the sale and display of the Confederate flag on National Park Service properties, except when displayed in a historical or educational context. To be clear, I wholeheartedly support the Park Service’s prohibitions regarding the Confederate flag and the amendment did nothing to change these prohibitions.

Multiple amendments concerning the Confederate flag were adopted during the open rule process under which the Interior bill was considered. I accepted all of these amendments without disagreement or debate. The Jeffries amendment and the Huffman amendment regarding National Park concessioners maintained the Obama administration exceptions for displays in a historical and educational context, however, the Huffman amendment regarding National Park cemeteries did not. The intent of the Leadership’s amendment was to clear up any confusion and maintain the Obama administration’s policies with respect to those historical and educational exceptions.

Looking back, I regret not conferring with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, especially my Ranking Member Betty McCollum, prior to offering the Leadership’s amendment and fully explaining its intent given the strong feelings Members of the House feel regarding this important and sensitive issue.

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