The US Senate unanimously passed a bill to make Juneteenth, the day Americans commemorate the abolition of slavery, a national holiday. The proposal now goes to the House of Representatives, and if it also gets the go-ahead there, it will be the 11th National Day.
In this case, federal government employees get a day off each year on—or about—June 19. This concerns 2 million employees. This also increases the chance for business and local government that Juneteenth will become a holiday for more people. About 47 states and the District of Columbia, in which Washington, D.C. is located, have long recognized Jonten as a holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates the liberation of the last slaves in the United States on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas.
Black Lives Matter Movement
Calls to declare Juneteenth a national holiday have increased as ongoing Black Lives Matter protests against racism and excessive police brutality continue. A bill to make this possible was introduced in 2020 by some senators, a mixed group of Democrats and Republicans.
The proposal was initially opposed by Republican Ron Johnson, who argued that taxpayers should not pay for an extra day off for federal government employees. The annual costs were estimated by him at 600 million dollars annually for two million employees who receive their salaries on public holidays. Johnson dropped his objection because, he said in a statement, he found there was “no interest in Congress to discuss the matter further.” The proposal passed without opposition from Johnson.
The last time another national holiday was added to the calendar in the United States was in 1983 when Martin Luther King Day was declared a national holiday.
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