In a surprisingly bipartisan vote, the US House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth, or June 19, is the that commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States.
Bipartisan Vote For Juneteenth
Earlier Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) quickly put the bill into a vote after the Senate approved a similar bill unanimously. It won with a 415-14 plurality.
As a result, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act will now head to President Joe Biden’s desk for signing into law. “We cannot change the future if we do not recognize the past,” said Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH). Beatty is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Many states already celebrate Juneteenth, which falls every 19th of June, including Texas, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Oregon. Previously, many black communities celebrated Emancipation day for decades.
They recognized the date long before critical race theory became vogue in educational circles. The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas, and marks the day in 1865 when Union Army General Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3, This order officially proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas.
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Opposition To The Bill
Some Republicans didn’t like the official name of the bill, saying it reads too close to the established Independence Day of the US. They said the wording is too similar to another holiday, July 4th.
In fact, Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) voted no to the bill because of that. “I don’t believe the title ‘National Independence Day’ works,” Roy said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Senate passed a similar Juneteenth bill by unanimous consent. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) dropped his objections to the legislation. “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.
Juneteenth Pushing Critical Race Theory
Meanwhile, Representative Matt Rosedale (R-MO), also voted against the passage of the bill. In a statement, Rosedale gave his reasons. “Let’s call an ace an ace.
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,” he noted.
However, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said that making Juneteenth a federal holiday was long overdue. Specifically, she referenced objections to teaching critical race theory, she said that the holiday comes as a reminder.
“This comes at an important time, Madam Chair. Across the country, we are seeing efforts to eliminate the teaching of our country’s history, like the injustices of slavery, from being taught in our own schools. This national holiday will serve as a powerful reminder that we cannot run from our past,” she said.
Watch the CBS News report where Congress passes bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday:
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