Image

2:49 PM / Thursday September 29, 2022

18 Jun 2021

Senate approves bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
June 18, 2021 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: This updated handout photo provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 shows a signed copy of Emancipation Proclamation. The Library, in Springfield, Ill., will mark Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, by displaying the rare signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. The copy of the proclamation that’s signed by Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward will be displayed between June 15 and July 6. The original document is kept in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum photo via AP)

By Kevin Freking

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make Juneteenth, or June 19th, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The bill would lead to Juneteenth becoming the 12th federal holiday. It is expected to easily pass the House, which would send it to President Joe Biden for his signature. 

Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free. Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but word didn’t reach the last enslaved Black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas. That was also about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Southern states.

“Making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a major step forward to recognize the wrongs of the past,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “But we must continue to work to ensure equal justice and fulfill the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation and our Constitution.”

The Senate passed the bill under a unanimous consent agreement that expedites the process for considering legislation. It takes just one senator’s objection to block such agreements.

Image

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) had objected in the previous Congress to a bill to celebrate Juneteenth as a federal holiday because of the cost and lack of debate, he said. Johnson noted that he has supported resolutions recognizing the significance of Juneteenth, but he was concerned the new holiday would give federal employees another day off at a cost of about $600 million per year.

“While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter. Therefore, I do not intend to object,” Johnson said in a statement before Tuesday’s vote.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.,) and had 60 co-sponsors. He tweeted Monday: “We have a long road towards racial justice in the United States and we cannot get there without acknowledging our nation’s original sin of slavery. It is long past time to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.”

The vast majority of states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or have an official observance of the day, and most states hold celebrations. Juneteenth is a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington.

Under the legislation, the federal holiday would be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Stateside

Mail ballot fight persists in key states, sure to slow count

September 23, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Processed mail-in ballots are seen at the Chester County Voter Services...

Health

Wolf administration recognizes Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September 23, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email HARRISBURG, Pa. — Leadership from multiple state agencies joined advocates from Prevent Suicide...

Seniors

Art program helps people living with dementia

September 23, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Sylvia M. paints a colorful pattern at an “ARTZ in the...

Color Of Money

EXPLAINER: How the strong U.S. dollar can affect everyone

September 23, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email By Stan Choe ASSOCIATED PRESS  NEW YORK — The buck isn’t stopping. The...

Go With The-Flo

Roz Nixon visits with Lillias White to see her debut in the current Broadway hit “Hadestown”

September 23, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Roz Nixon and Lillias White By Flo Anthony Curtis “50 Cent”...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? Roasted Curried Cauliflower

September 23, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’? Garlic “Butter” Mushrooms and Cauliflower...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff