WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — The Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
The legislation has gained momentum since the massive Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd last year and the Democrats’ takeover of the White House and Congress.READ MORE: Texas Officer Dies After Crash With 18-Wheeler While Responding To Emergency
The bill was brought together by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas-18) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts).
“The freedom of all Americans that Texas celebrates every Juneteenth should be celebrated all across the nation,” Cornyn said in a statement Tuesday. “The passage of this bill represents a big step in our nation’s journey toward equality. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for their support, and my fellow Texans who have been celebrating this important holiday for more than a century.”
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson blocked the bill in 2020, saying that the day off for federal employees would cost US taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Johnson dropped his objection this week despite his concerns, paving the way for the bill’s passage in the Senate.
“Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate,” said Johnson in a statement. “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.”READ MORE: Padel Players Try Out For US National Team In Dallas
The measure needs to pass the House and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tweeted that the chamber would vote Wednesday.
“I look forward to bringing this bill to the Floor, and urge bipartisan support,” Hoyer wrote thanking the bill’s bipartisan sponsors.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
In 1980, Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday. In the decades since, every state but South Dakota came to officially commemorate Juneteenth, but only a handful of states observe it as a paid holiday.MORE NEWS: Over 250 Guns Surrendered To DeSoto Police During Saturday Event
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