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Biden signs law making June thenth a federal holiday

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Biden signs law making June thenth a federal holiday

President Joe Biden signs the June 2021 National Independence Day Act in the East Room of the White House on June 17, 2021.
Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

With unexpected speed, Congress passed a law this week making June 10 (June 19), the date associated with the end of slavery, a federal holiday. The Senate approved the bill on Tuesday and passed it by an overwhelming majority the next evening. President Biden signed it Thursday afternoon.

“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments,” Biden said at the signing ceremony at the White House. “You don’t ignore those moments in the past. You hug her. Great nations don’t go away. We process the mistakes we made. “

Biden on making Juniteenth a federal holiday: “I’ve only been president for several months, but I think this will count as one of the greatest honors I’ve received as president.” pic.twitter.com/gX1V5lHxCZ

– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 17, 2021

The breakthrough came earlier this week when everyone seemed to expect Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson to oppose a unanimous vote to pass a bill making the change, as he did last year (complaint about the cost of a new federal holiday). But it didn’t, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:

“While it still seems strange that the end of slavery is now required to be celebrated when taxpayers are giving federal employees paid time off, it is clear that Congress has no appetite to discuss the matter further. So I don’t intend to object, ”Johnson said in a statement Tuesday.

So the Senate passed the resolution without objection and the House of Representatives hastily adopted it. After a shortened debate and chaired by longtime champion of the Juneteenth, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, the House of Representatives passed the bill by a margin of 415-14 and sent it to Biden. The law went into effect immediately, with most federal employees free on Friday, according to the Human Resources Bureau.

Today @POTUS will sign the National Independence Day in June bill, making June 19th a federal holiday. Since the 19th falls on a Saturday, most federal employees will keep the holiday tomorrow, June 18th.

– U.S. Human Resources Management Office (@USOPM) June 17, 2021

The 14 Republicans who voted “no” were Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona; Mo Brooks and Mike Rogers from Alabama; Andrew Clyde from Georgia; Scott Desjarlais from Tennessee; Doug LaMalfa and Tom McClintock of California; Thomas Massie from Kentucky; Ronnie Jackson and Chip Roy from Texas; Ralph Norman of South Carolina; Matt Rosendale from Montana and Tom Tiffany from Wisconsin.

Rosendale went out of her way to aggressively declare his voice against commemorating the end of slavery:

> @RepRosendale says he will vote against Juneteenth as a natural holiday.

Vote is coming soon

Senate passed by voting pic.twitter.com/T5L1ZlKIq0

– Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) June 16, 2021

Aside from the last-minute insults, efforts to make Juneteenth a public holiday were more successful than the earlier Martin Luther King Jr. holiday drive, which was successful in 1983 in the history of U.S. racism, regardless of being more conservative Protests. Forty-seven states have some sort of June 10 memorial service, but only Texas has made it a paid public holiday for civil servants. You can expect that number to rise now that Washington acts.

This post was updated after Biden signed the law.

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