Bennie Thompson pushes bill to remove Confederate symbols

Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson will try to force a vote in the House of Representatives on a measure that would require all “symbols of the Confederacy” to be removed from House areas and office buildings.

The move comes after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and other top politicians in that state called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the statehouse grounds after nine people were gunned down by a man who posed with the flag and expressed racist sentiments.

Thompson is the sole African-American in the Mississippi Congressional delegation.

He is crafting a “privileged resolution.” Once he offers it on the House floor the rules provide that the issue be taken up within two legislative days. The House could choose to pass the resolution or move to table it, and in both cases would require a simple majority vote. Since Democrats are in the minority, most privileged measures are defeated on party lines votes.

But after the tragic shooting in Charleston and the quick reversal of many top GOP leaders in that state on whether it’s still appropriate to fly the Confederate flag, Republicans may decide to back Thompson’s plan. He could present the resolution as early as Wednesday.

Most members of Congress display their state flags outside their offices on Capitol Hill, but Thompson, a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, does not post his own state’s flag because of its symbolism.

Thompson’s office says the text of the resolution is still being finalized, and it’s intended to cover the Mississippi state flag. It’s unclear if it would also require the removal of statues of Confederate war figures that were picked by some Southern states and are displayed in some areas of the Capitol.

Roll Call first reported Thompson was considering a resolution.

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