NEWS & ANALYSIS

House Passes Bill Making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday


In a sweeping vote Wednesday, he House of Representatives passed a bill making Juneteenth, the day celebrating the end of slavery, a federal holiday. 

The final vote on the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was 415 to 14. Now, the bill will go to Joe Biden’s desk, where he will sign it into law. 

“We cannot change the future if we do not recognize the past,” Rep. Joyce Beatty, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus said on the House floor prior to the vote. 

Some republicans opposed the title of the bill because of its similarity to the  July 4th holiday. 

“I don’t believe the title ‘National Independence Day’ works,” Rep. Chick Roy said, citing that reason for his vote. 

“Let’s call an ace an ace,” said. Rep. Matt Rosedale, who also voted against the bill. “This is an effort by the Left to create a day out of whole cloth to celebrate identity politics as part of its large effort to make Critical Race Theory the reigning ideology of our country.” 

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, has been recognized by black Americans for decades, as it commemorates the end of slavery. A majority of states have already passed legislation recognizing it as a holiday. 

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent after Sen. Ron Johnson dropped his objections. 

“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,” Johnson said.