House Will Vote On Making Juneteenth A Federal Holiday After Unanimous Senate Passage

WASHINGTON D.C., June 20, 2020 -- A sign is seen during protests against racial injustice to mark Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, near the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States, June 19, 2020. This year's Juneteenth comes amid nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racism triggered by the death of George Floyd in police custody. More than 20 rallies, marches and events were scheduled for Friday in Washington, D.C., with hundreds more in over 40 states, according to the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of U.S. groups representing the interests of black communities. (Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty)
WASHINGTON D.C., June 19, 2020 -- A sign is seen during protests against racial injustice to mark Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, near the White House in Washington, D.C., the Unite... WASHINGTON D.C., June 19, 2020 -- A sign is seen during protests against racial injustice to mark Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, near the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States, June 19, 2020. This year's Juneteenth comes amid nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racism triggered by the death of George Floyd in police custody. More than 20 rallies, marches and events were scheduled for Friday in Washington, D.C., with hundreds more in over 40 states, according to the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of U.S. groups representing the interests of black communities. (Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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June 16, 2021 12:54 p.m.

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.

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.

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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.”

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