Ron Johnson says he will no longer oppose 'strange' Juneteenth holiday
Jun 16 2021
Juneteenth commemorates the Union Army's June 16, 1865 declaration in Galveston, Texas that slavery had been outlawed in the United States, liberating America's remaining enslaved African Americans.
In 1980, Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Wednesday morning that the chamber would bring the measure to the floor for a vote, where it's expected to pass with bipartisan support later in the day after clearing the Senate on Tuesday. The 2021 bill, titled the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, has 60 Senate cosponsors, including 18 Republicans, meaning it has sufficient support necessary to end a filibuster. Johnson argued that it was too costly to give federal government employees an additional day off and has suggested the government remove a federal holiday in exchange for Juneteenth. Former President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior. "It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years", Cornyn tweeted on Tuesday. "Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more ideal union", Cornyn tweeted.
Federal lawmakers' efforts to make Juneteenth a federal holiday gained significantly more momentum a year ago amid the nationwide protests following George Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police officer.
"The stakes are a little different", Mark Anthony Neal, a Duke University African American studies professor, told the New York Times last June.
"While it still seems odd that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is not required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter", he added.
The Senate passed the bill under a unanimous consent agreement that expedites the process for considering legislation. "Therefore, I do not intend to object", he added.
The bill is sponsored by Sen.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has officially declared Juneteenth an official paid holiday for city employees.
Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.
Juneteenth is already formally recognized in 47 states as well as Washington D.C., but few states celebrate it as a paid holiday for employees.