Juneteenth Bill, Marking End of Slavery as a Federal Holiday, Unanimously Passes Senate

The Senate just passed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday to celebrate the end of slavery. 

It honors June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom from slavery in the state of Texas, almost two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Juneteenth has been celebrated in 47 states and the District of Columbia, but if it does pass through Senate, it will become a country-wide event.

The motion was made by Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and every Senator was in favor. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. — who stopped the bill from passing in 2020 — also gave up on his objection to it.

“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,” he told the media. “Therefore, I do not intend to object.”

The Juneteenth bill is now set to go to the House, and if it passes, it will become the 11th federal holiday.

The bill was first proposed in 2020 by Texas Senator John Cornyn and Representative Sheila Jackson, while rioters were havocking the streets over the death of George Floyd, but it did not receive the support it needed to pass.

Cornyn made a tweet regarding the motion, saying:

“Happy that my bill to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday just passed in the Senate. It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years. Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more perfect union.”

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