WASHINGTON – The House will vote on legislation Wednesday to make June 19, or Juneteenth, a federal holiday — just one day after the Senate passed the legislation.
The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act would grant every federal employee a day off to commemorate June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, discovered President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved African Americans in rebel states 2½ years earlier. The day is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced the House would take up the legislation.
More:Senate passes bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday
If it passes the House, it will be sent to President Joe Biden’s desk just days before the Juneteenth holiday Saturday.
Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, spearheaded the legislation, and reintroduced the bill in February.
Markey had introduced it last June in the wake of the high-profile killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor – all Black people who died at the hands of police or armed white citizens. The 2020 bill did not progress to a vote.
Contributing: Chelsey Cox, Matthew Brown