U.S. House sends Juneteenth holiday bill to Biden

The U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
Caption
The U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Every Georgia lawmaker except Andrew Clyde votes in favor

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House signed off on a bill making Juneteenth, a day marking the end of formalized slavery in America, a federal holiday in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion.

The 415-14 vote on the House floor came one day after the Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent. President Joe Biden said he will sign it into law on Thursday afternoon.

Every member of Georgia’s delegation voted in favor of the measure except for U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens. Clyde said he supported the holiday but didn’t like its title, Juneteenth National Independence Day, because July 4th is already recognized as America’s Independence Day.

During debate on the bill, U.S. Rep. David Scott encouraged Republican colleagues to join with Democrats the way they had in the Senate.

“By doing so, you will say — not ‘This is my country,’ ” the Atlanta Democrat said, stretching his arms as a gesture of openness. “You will say in one united voice, ‘This is our country — Black and white — this is our country.’ ”

June 19, 1865, was the day slaves in Texas learned about President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, roughly 2 1/2 years after he issued the order to end slavery in states rebelling against the Union. Observances across the nation increased last year in light of protests about racism; Juneteenth events often double as celebrations of Black culture.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin had held up passage of the bill previously, saying a holiday for federal employees would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Johnson dropped his objection Tuesday, allowing the bill to be fast-tracked in both chambers, CNN reported.

Most states, including Georgia, recognize Juneteenth for commemoration but not as an official state holiday.

If Biden signs the measure into law, Juneteenth will become the 11th federal holiday.

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene broke with some of the House’s most conservative lawmakers in supporting the measure.

“I’m in support of celebrating important days in American history and the emancipation of slaves is important,” the Rome Republican said in a statement. “Plus, any day that we can shut down the federal government is a good day for the American people.”

HOW THEY VOTED

On S. 475, Juneteenth National Independence Day Act

“Yes”

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler

U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton

U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta

U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta

“No”

U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens