Rebecca Kheel, The Hill, June 11, 2020
The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would require the Pentagon to rename bases and other assets that are named after Confederate military leaders, a source confirmed to The Hill.
The amendment, offered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), was approved by voice vote Wednesday during the committee’s closed-door markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the source familiar with the situation said. The amendment would give the Pentagon three years to remove the Confederate names.
During a briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also said Trump would veto the NDAA if the massive policy bill mandated changing the names of the bases.
Just two days before Trump’s tweets, an Army spokesperson said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were “open” to renaming the 10 bases that are named after Confederate military officers.
The bases, which are in Southern states, are Fort Lee, Fort Hood, Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Bragg, Fort Polk, Fort Pickett, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Rucker and Camp Beauregard.
The Army’s Monday position was a reversal from as recently as February, when the service said it had no plans to change the name of any base, including those named after Confederate officers.
At least one Republican senator on the Armed Services Committee opposed the amendment.
“I opposed this amendment, spoke against it, and voted no in the committee,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) tweeted Thursday. “Congress should not be mandating renaming of our bases and military installations.”