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