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Lawmakers Put Brakes On Resolution To Ban Mississippi Flag From Capitol

A proposed resolution to remove state flags containing any portion of the Confederate battle flag from the U.S. Capitol has been put on hold by House Republicans.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson, the only black member of Mississippi's congressional delegation, would authorize the Speaker of the House to remove any state flag that contained the Confederate symbol on the House side of the Capitol complex. Mississippi is the only state flag that would be affected.

In a mostly party-line 240-184 vote, Republicans and a few Democrats sent the resolution to the Committee on House Administration for consideration.

"They (Republicans) have ground it to a halt," Trey Baker, counsel for Thompson, said of the House vote.

State flags are displayed along the underground subway between the Capitol and Rayburn House Office Building. Flags of all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia are displayed there, according to The Hill.

The Hill says:

"Thompson noted that the Capitol has not displayed the flags of territories with whom the U.S. has engaged in battle.

"'Congress has never permanently recognized in its hallways the symbol of sovereign nations with whom it has gone to war or rogue entities, such as the Confederate States of America,' Thompson said."

The Confederate flag is considered an insulting symbol of slavery to many people and it has come in for renewed scrutiny since Dylann Roof, accused in the shooting of nine members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last week was seen in photos posing with it.

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Corrected: June 27, 2015 at 11:00 PM CDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to the Confederate battle flag as the "Stars and Bars." In fact, the "Stars and Bars" refers to a separate design that served as the first flag of the Confederacy.
Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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