House scraps vote on Confederate flag in cemeteries

The Republican-controlled House scrapped a vote on permitting the Confederate flag at Park Service-run cemeteries on Thursday, a retreat under fire that only escalated a ferocious attack by Democrats complaining the banner celebrates a murderous, racist past….

…Earlier in the week, lawmakers decided by voice vote and without controversy to ban the display of the Confederate flag in Park Service-run cemeteries.

But GOP leaders soon became concerned that the overall spending measure it was attached to might fail — Democrats oppose it because they want more spending and some Republicans were unhappy with the prohibition on the flag. One, Rep. Stephen Palazzo of Mississippi, had said that lawmakers “from New York and California cannot wipe away 150 years of Southern history with sleight-of-hand tactics.”

That led briefly to plans to reconsider the prohibition, and then a highly unusual statement by the measure’s chief Republican sponsor after the subsequent decision to reverse course.

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., said the now-abandoned proposal “had been brought to me by leadership at the request of some southern” GOP lawmakers, and also would have written into law existing National Park Service regulations approved by the Obama administration.