Joe Biden Signs Juneteenth Holiday Bill Into Law

Here’s how the new holiday unexpectedly sailed through Congress this week.

6/18/2021 9:46:00 AM

Here’s how the new holiday unexpectedly sailed through Congress this week.

Here’s how the new holiday unexpectedly sailed through Congress this week.

that we already have a holiday called Independence Day.The bill’s swift passage came as a surprise, since Democrats hadn’t announced any plans to vote on the measure. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who has co-sponsored Juneteenth resolutions for years, called the holiday a “legislative miracle,” noting that it happened as Democrats struggle to enact a racial equity agenda that includes major voting rights and police reform policies.

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JIM WATSON via Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden speaks with Opal Lee (lower right) and guests after he signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 17 in Washington. “This allowed people to make that first step in racial equity and social justice in a holiday where everybody can come together and ask the question, ‘What is Juneteenth?’” Jackson Lee told HuffPost on Thursday.

“This allowed people to make that first step in racial equity and social justice in a holiday where everybody can come together and ask the question, ‘What is Juneteenth?’” Jackson Lee told HuffPost on Thursday.On June 19, 1865, Union Major-General Gordon Granger

arrived in Galveston, Texas,and announced that “all slaves are free,” two months after the Civil War had ended and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The first big Juneteenth celebrations started in Texas the very next year.

Federal workers will have Friday off, and a three-day weekend every June 19 going forward as Juneteenth takes its place as the 11th annually occurring legal public holiday. Federal holidays don’t require businesses to give workers time off, but several big private employers said last year they would make Juneteenth permanent company holidays.

Jackson Lee and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), first introduced legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday last year, after having previously proposed purely symbolic resolutions. The push for an actual holiday came as Black Lives Matter protests erupted in response to the police murder of George Floyd.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)blockeda vote on the bill, saying a day off for federal workers would cost the government too much money, and the measure seemingly lacked enough support to overcome his filibuster.But this year, the Senate version of the bill quickly won 60 co-sponsors, meaning it could pass if Democrats wanted to put it through the multi-day “cloture” process. It wasn’t clear if they did, as doing so would take valuable Senate floor time away from their other priorities. But then Johnson said he wouldn’t object after all.

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Jackson Lee thinks Senate Democrats prevailed by showing their determination to pass the bill. “That person lost steam,” she said of Johnson.Markey pointed to the fact that the bill had 60 co-sponsors rather than any special arm-twisting. “We worked hard behind the scenes just to make sure that it would happen,” he said.

On the House side, Democrats rushed to prepare the legislation for a quick vote after its Senate passage. Jackson Lee said she “made sure that Republicans knew that they were welcome” and that she was grateful to them for overwhelmingly supporting the bill. She emphasized to them that the celebration honors the Union Army’s victory in the war.

Republicans have been harshly critical of Black Lives Matter protests and every Democratic policy proposal addressing the country’s pervasive racial inequities, and they’ve always griped about federal workers. The idea of another day off for the government workforce ― a day off that reminds people about slavery ― pretty much goes against everything they stand for. But they did it anyway.

“We’ve got too many federal holidays but this one is worthy of America’s celebration and long overdue, and we needed to live up to the American ideal and value of freedom and equality,” Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) told HuffPost. “We didn’t say we were a perfect union, we said we were forming a

moreperfect union. That’s something every generation has to work on.” Read more: HuffPost »

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This was the Democrats work all around And of course there’s gold in them there holidays!

Federal Workers Will Get Friday Off To Observe JuneteenthPresident Joe Biden will be signing the law Thursday to officially make Juneteenth a federal holiday. VP HARRIS beaming... 😄 It's wonderful that the working class will have a day to remember just how they got here What a bunch of crap

Joe Biden Signs Juneteenth Holiday Bill Into LawPresident Joe Biden signed a rare piece of legislation on Thursday: a bill creating the first new federal holiday since 1983. Change the name though. “Juneteenth”. Has a connotation with illiteracy that I don’t think compliments POC

Joe Biden Signs Bill Making Juneteenth A Federal Holiday; What’s Open And Closed On FridayPresident Joe Biden signed a bill that makes Juneteenth a federal holiday, with plans for the government workforce to observe the new holiday on Friday. The event was carried on cable news and broa… Let's be clear Juneteenth celebrates the Union army arriving in Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation which was signed two years earlier. Texas decided to be Texas and not comply until the Union Army arrived.

President Biden Makes Juneteenth Federal HolidayPresident Joe Biden has signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Many federal workers around the country will observe the holiday on Friday, June 18, since June 19 falls on a Saturday thi… Love this; let's carry on this energy and pass the For the People Act 🙂

Biden signs into law bill establishing Juneteenth as federal holidayJuneteenth celebrates June 19, 1865, when a Union Army general arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended and they were free. John Cornyn hid in the back trying to be invisible.

Biden signs bill making Juneteenth, marking the end of slavery, a federal holiday'Today we consecrate Juneteenth for what it ought to be, what it must be—a national holiday.' Pres. Biden hails establishment of Juneteenth as a federal holiday. THE future. Sucks so hard. It only was in Texas.... Every southern state had the own dates