More than half of the U.S. Senate has signed onto a bill that would make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
About a third of the House has endorsed a similar bill in that chamber. The Senate plan would add the holiday to the calendar, though at least two Republicans want to remove Columbus Day at the same time so as not to increase the total number of federal holidays.
Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., made the proposal as an amendment to a bill sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas to dub Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Democrats also want to make Election Day a federal holiday, though that has more opposition among Republicans including from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The move to commemorate Juneteenth more formally has gained momentum amid ongoing mass protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody. Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
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