WASHINGTON — Lawmakers in the U.S. House made history last month when they voted for the first time to limit the display of the Confederate flag in certain federal cemeteries. The change came in the form of an amendment added to the chamber’s annual spending bill that funds military graveyards, among other things.
But the House-Senate compromise version of that very same spending bill, which emerged and was quickly passed by the House in the wee hours of the night on Wednesday amid the chaos of Democrats’ gun control sit-in, did not include the flag provision.
During private negotiations to merge the House and Senate versions of the bill, Republicans removed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from displaying Confederate flag imagery in VA cemeteries on the two days a year that large Confederate flags can be flown.
A bipartisan group of 265 House lawmakers voted in favor of the flag amendment when it came up for debate in mid-May. All of Georgia’s Republicans and Albany Democrat Sanford Bishop voted against its inclusion.
A similar provision caused work on government spending bills to collapse last summer.
Senate Democrats are expected to filibuster the must-pass underlying measure, which also includes $1.1 billion for fighting the Zika virus, when it is considered in the chamber next week. The White House has promised to veto the bill as it is currently written.