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US Congress, White House face standoff over Confederate names for military bases

US President Donald Trump and Congress are headed for a showdown over a USD740.5 billion fiscal year 2021 defence authorisation bill if lawmakers maintain a provision to remove Confederate names from military bases.

The House and Senate have passed, with veto-proof majorities, their respective versions of the pending legislation and both include provisions requiring the Pentagon to rename bases named after generals who fought on the pro-slavery side of the US Civil War. Conferees now need to reconcile the two bills and send a single version back to the chamber floors for final approval before sending the bill to President Donald Trump’s desk. However, the White House has already threatened to veto several provisions in the legislation, including the base proposal.

“The administration strongly objects to section 2829 of the [House] bill, which would require renaming of any military installation or defence property named after any person who served in the political or military leadership of any armed rebellion against the United States,” the White House told lawmakers on 21 July.

The Trump administration added that it opposed measures to destroy or rename other controversial monuments and memorials inside the nation.

“President Trump has been clear in his opposition to politically motivated attempts like this to rewrite history and to displace the enduring legacy of the American Revolution with a new left-wing cultural revolution,” the White House added.

If the president does veto the bill and the House and Senate can muster the necessary two-thirds supermajority to override his veto, a number of bases would needed to be renamed, including: Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Fort Rucker, Alabama.

US lawmakers are pushing the Pentagon to rename military bases named after Confederate generals. Right now, the White House is opposing the measure.  (Getty Images)

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