DOD reportedly eyeing Confederate flag ban | House military spending bill blocks wall funding (Reports).
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THE TOPLINE: The Pentagon is working on a policy that would ban the display of Confederate flags at military bases, according to multiple reports on Monday.
The draft policy, if put into effect, would ban the flag’s display in Department of Defense (DOD) workplaces or public areas by service members and civilian personnel, the Associated Press reported.
And CNN reported that military legal personnel are reviewing how such a department-wide ban can be carried out, and that a decision will come soon.
Pentagon officials declined to comment to The Hill on such a draft.
Earlier: The possible directive comes after President Trump earlier in the day criticized NASCAR on Twitter over its decision to ban the flag at its venues, saying the move had led to lower ratings.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany repeatedly dodged questions about Trump’s tweet, saying at a Monday press conference that the president was not “making a judgment one way or the other” on whether NASCAR was wrong to ban the Confederate flag from its events.
Trump has also repeatedly defended the preservation of Confederate statues and pushed back at renaming military bases named for Confederate officers. He has threatened to veto a massive defense policy bill over the inclusion of a bipartisan amendment that would change the names of such installations, though defense leaders have publicly supported such a change.
Policy details: Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters late last month that top Pentagon leaders were working on a DOD-wide policy for confederate symbols.
“Obviously the Commander-in-Chief put out specific guidance related to bases … looking at what is the uniform policy for confederate symbols, we’re working with the office of the secretary of defense on a policy related to that,” McCarthy said.
The draft DOD policy in question would put in place a ban to preserve “the morale of our personnel, good order and discipline within the military ranks and unit cohesion,” the AP reported.
A “significant” number of service members and their families are minorities and “it is beyond doubt” that many “take grave offense at such a display,” according to the draft.
Officials told the AP that the draft was sent out to service leaders last week for their input and response.
A shift in the services: If implemented, the policy would follow the directives of the Marine Corps and U.S. Forces Korea, which have already banned the display of the Confederate battle flag. The Navy has also said it plans to do so.
The Army, meanwhile, has said it was open to renaming its 10 bases named for Confederates.
Meanwhile, in Congress: In Congress, the House Armed Services Committee last week approved an amendment to the to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to ban the display of the Confederate battle flag on all Pentagon property.
The Senate’s version of the NDAA already includes a requirement to rename bases and other property within three years.
And a House spending bill for military construction would block funding for projects at bases named after Confederate leaders unless the properties are in the process of being renamed.
The fiscal 2021 appropriations bill for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs would prohibit funding from going to military construction projects “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 draft text released by the House Appropriations Committee.
HOUSE SPENDING BILL ADDRESSES WALL, NUCLEAR ISSUES: A House spending bill for military construction would block funding from going to Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The fiscal 2021 spending bill for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs would prohibit military construction funding appropriated since fiscal 2016 from being used on barriers on the southern border and roads to access a barrier on the border, according to draft text released by the House Appropriations Committee.
It would also prohibit funding for projects that were delayed because Trump declared a national emergency and dipped into military construction for the wall, according to the text.
The provision is included in a $250.9 billion spending bill that would give $10.1 billion to military construction in fiscal 2021. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veteran Affairs and Related Agencies will consider the bill Monday night.
Separately, the House Appropriations Committee’s spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security would prohibit construction of a border wall.
Background: Trump declared an emergency last year after a prolonged government shutdown over his request for border wall funding ended with Congress appropriating less than he requested.
Since then, Trump has taken $3.6 billion from military construction to be used on the wall. He has separately dipped into other Pentagon accounts to move billions more into the department’s counterdrug fund to use on the wall.
The moves have infuriated Democrats, and a few Republicans, who say Trump is ignoring Congress’s power of the purse. But legislative efforts to stop him have faltered in the past.