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Warner Assails Trump’s Move to Protect Confederate Site Names

As bipartisan negotiations continue on the final FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Virginia U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner released a statement following President Trump’s threat to veto the annual defense bill over a provision requiring the military to rename bases named for Confederate military leaders:

“Ongoing reports that President Trump is holding up negotiations on our annual defense bill because of his objections to the renaming of Confederate bases is frankly absurd and downright dangerous. The defense bill is critical to U.S. national security, authorizing millions for military construction projects, shipbuilding, technology and innovation investments, a pay raise for our servicemembers and many other critical defense priorities. Delays in its passage undermine mission readiness and stability for our service members as they tackle our national security challenges.

“This annual defense bill provides much-needed stability for Virginia’s critical national security footprint. In addition to the Pentagon, Virginia hosts major headquarters for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and is home to the largest naval base in the world — Naval Station Norfolk. Defense-related spending is also critical to Virginia’s economy. In fact, Virginia ranks first in the country in DoD contracts as a percentage of the state economy and second in terms of number of DoD and Coast Guard personnel. In the midst of a presidential transition, a global pandemic and growing global threats, the President should not be playing politics with our defense bill. The stakes are just too high.”

Last week, Sen. Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, applauded the inclusion of his Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act in this year’s defense bill.

The bipartisan ILLICIT CASH Act seeks to improve corporate transparency, strengthen national security, and help law enforcement combat illicit financial activity being carried out by terrorists, drug and human traffickers, and other criminals.

Additional Warner-led amendments are also being considered in the final defense bill.

Sen. Warner is a cosponsor of the Confederate Monument Removal Act, which would remove statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

He has also spoken publicly about the need to remove public symbols honoring the Confederacy as part of broader efforts to advance racial justice.