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The Congressional Black Caucus is celebrating South Carolina's decision to remove the Confederate flag from its Capitol and it is pressing the U.S. House to ban the flag from federal cemeteries.
But the caucus' only Republican member, Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, is taking a far more cautious approach.
She won't directly say whether she supports or opposes South Carolina's action, chalking it up to a decision by the people of that state. Love would only say: "The Confederate flag has never flown over the Utah state Capitol. It is not our flag. Our flag is the American flag."
And she isn't taking a stand on the unexpected debate that spilled onto the House floor this week. Some black caucus members and a few Republican lawmakers from Southern states argued over federal rules allowing Confederate flags to be draped on graves in ceremonies held at federal cemeteries. In reaction, House leaders pulled a spending bill off the floor to stop an amendment vote on the issue.
On that one, Love supports more study, but she worries the debate over the Civil War relic won't lead to less racism.
"Washington focuses too much on the issues that divide us in this country," she said in a statement. "To some, that division centers on the Confederate flag and the racist history associated with it. What concerns me is that the publicity about removing the Confederate flag will merely be symbolic. Simply lowering a flag or moving it to a glass case does nothing to address underlying feelings of hatred. Will it help? I hope so."
South Carolina removed the flag on Friday, sending it to a museum, in reaction to the racially motivated killing of nine people in a historic black church in Charleston last month.
Love, elected last November, is the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. She is the daughter of Haitian immigrants who came to the United States in the 1970s.