House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on Wednesday announced that the chamber will vote on making Juneteenth a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S.
I look forward to bringing this bill to the Floor, and urge bipartisan support.
— Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer) June 16, 2021
Hoyer’s announcement comes after the Senate unanimously passed its resolution making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The bill appears likely to pass the Democratic-led House, which would prompt the legislation to be sent to President Biden’s desk.
Legislation to commemorate Juneteenth — which is celebrated on June 19, marking the anniversary of Major General Gordon Granger’s 1865 announcement in Galveston, Texas of the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation — gained traction in light of Black Lives Matter protests last year over the killing of George Floyd.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) initially blocked the bill last year, arguing that making Juneteenth a federal holiday would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Johnson, however, backed off of his objection this week after it became clear the bill had enough support to overcome a filibuster.
“Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate,” Johnson said. “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.”