White House spokesman Josh Earnest condemned Republicans in the House of Represenatives for scheduling a vote on an amendment to continue to allow the Confederate flag to be flown at certain cemeteries controlled by the Federal government. House Republicans abruptly canceled the vote earlier on July 9 and then yanked the underlying bill funding the Interior Department from the floor. According to Earnest, this shows that the GOP agenda is “out of step with vast majority of Americans” and that Republicans are “eager to protect the status of the Confederate flag on National Park Service grounds.”
Earlier this week, a voice vote in the House adopted language in the Interior bill that would have banned the display of the Confederate flag at National Park Service facilities. However, the new amendment would have reversed the earlier vote.
Taking a shot at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Earnest claimed that the GOP has failed to criticize “the race-baiting rhetoric of a leading Republican presidential candidate.” He also referenced House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) past association with David Duke, a white supremacist from Louisiana. Scalise has since abjured any racial bigotry. However, Earnest did issue praise for the decision of the South Carolina legislature, which is controlled by the GOP, for voting on July 9 to rid South Carolina state grounds of the Confederate flag. 
For his part, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on July 9 that Confederate flags should not be displayed at federal cemeteries. As for why the controversial amenment was added to the Interior Department bill, he explained that he "supported the goal of trying to work with all the parties to address their concerns." He added, 
"It's time for some adults here in the Congress to actually sit down and have a conversation about how to address this issue."
“Distorting fact to try and score cheap political points is no way to honor the victims of the horrific crime in Charleston," said spokesman Cory Fritz. "These childish attacks are completely dishonest, and beneath the dignity of the office of the presidency.” Boehner's office said that the amendment was consistent with Obama administration policy.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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