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SPLC Action Fund Applauds Passage of National Defense Authorization Act, Which Will Remove Confederate Names from Military Bases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by an overwhelming, veto-proof majority of 84 to 13.  President Trump has threatened to veto the bill because it will rename ten military bases named after Confederate leaders and doesn’t repeal an unrelated provision shielding social media companies from liability for the content they post.

SPLC Action Fund’s Lecia Brooks issued the following statement in response:

“We are thrilled that senators on both sides of the aisle came together to pass the NDAA by a veto-proof majority, just as their counterparts in the House did earlier this week. In an era of sharp partisan division, this overwhelming support shows that the decision to support our troops and remove hateful, racist Confederate names and symbols from our military bases isn’t about partisan politics; it’s about an inclusive America.

“We hope President Trump will see the writing on the wall and not carry out his threat to veto the bill. But if he does, we hope and expect both chambers will vote to override his veto, ensuring that Trump’s threat will have no effect except to provide another reminder of his visceral and unrelenting personal support of systemic racism.

“This legislation also includes important, long overdue progress to limit the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which distributes excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies. This ill-conceived effort puts the weapons of war into the hands of civilian police officers, exposing our communities to greater potential violence while emboldening far-right extremists who interpret police militarization as evidence of growing authoritarianism.

“For too long, members of the armed services have put their lives on the line for our country. This includes many people of color, who have had to serve on Confederate-named military bases – a constant, painful reminder of the white supremacy and racism that has run rampant since our country's inception. Enacting the NDAA will set in motion a three-year process to rename ten military bases – ending what has been an unwelcome, undeserved honoring of treasonous men who promoted slavery, bigotry, and hate.

“This move should also serve as a signal for the rest of the country. Homages to the Confederacy remain prevalent nationwide. This is no longer acceptable.”

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Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent letters to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of the Air Force, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the National Guard Bureau Chief urging them to remove Confederate symbols from all of their installations in the U.S. and abroad.

In 2018, the SPLC released an updated version of its Whose Heritage? report, identifying nearly 1,800 Confederate monuments, parks, schools, state holidays and other symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces across the South and the nation.