Republican senators are debating replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth
Republican Senators Debate Replacing Columbus Day With Juneteenth As A Federal Holiday – As House Dems Try To Move Ahead With a Restorative Act That Repays Slavery To Black Americans
- A two-tiered bill proposes to make Juneteenth a federal holiday in the US
- But Republicans are debating whether or not it should replace Columbus Day
- Senator Ron Johnson presented the idea as a “counter-proposal that won’t put us further into debt”
- Federal holidays cost approximately $ 600 million in paid time off for federal employees
- Senator John Cornyn, who sponsored the bill, said dropping Columbus Day could be “problematic.”
Republican senators are debating whether or not to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday, as part of an amendment to the bipartisan bill introduced last week.
Texas Senator John Cornyn last month proposed legislation that would officially recognize Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery in the U.S., as a national holiday.
The bill is expected to be passed unanimously, but it has met with some resistance from fellow Republicans who say creating a new federal holiday could be too expensive.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson on Wednesday announced an amendment to drop Columbus Day as a “counterproposal that does not put us further into debt.”
Texas Senator John Cornyn, who sponsors the bill, was against the scrapping of Columbus Day in exchange for Juneteenth on Wednesday
Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the last slaves in Texas heard of the emancipation proclamation two years earlier. Crowd celebrates the date in New York City last year
“We support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday, but feel that we should eliminate a current holiday in return,” Johnson said in a statement.
While Columbus Day has become somewhat of a controversial holiday due to concerns that it honors the man who enslaved and murdered Native Americans, Johnson’s suggestion comes from a purely fiscal conservative standpoint.
The senator said he proposed to cut the holiday “because it is probably the lightest celebrated and less disruptive to someone’s schedule.”
He noted that federal holidays cost about $ 600 million in paid time off for government officials.
The move was supported by Oklahoma fellow Republican James Lankford, who said he would consider the economic effects.
Although Columbus Day has become a bit of a controversial holiday due to concerns that it honors the man who enslaved and murdered Native Americans, Johnson’s suggestion comes from a purely fiscal point of view.
Senator Ron Johnson suggested dropping the holiday “because it’s probably the most lightly celebrated and less disruptive to someone’s schedule.”
“Juneteenth is a day in our history that redefined the meaning of freedom and equality in America … We need to celebrate these steps at the federal level as we keep up to date with the impact that the existing 10 federal holidays have on federal services and local businesses, “he said in a statement.
The proposal drew some reluctance from Cornyn, who said eliminating Columbus Day could be “problematic” as some communities commemorate the holiday every year.
Cornyn, who sponsored the bill, said that he “dilutes the message we are trying to send,” which is to be respectful and honor and remember our history, “he said. The hill.
The bill is set amid a nationwide reckoning on racism in America caused by George Floyd’s death in May.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (pictured on Capitol Hill on June 25) gathered on Wednesday to discuss the next steps on a recovery law
Democrats have since started discussing plans for a recovery law that would investigate racial inequality in America and propose solutions through policy changes.
The HR 40 bill is sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas hopes to put it to the vote by the end of the year.
“We now have the opportunity through HR 40 to have the highest level of discussion about systemic racism and race. And we can do it in a way that brings people together; who recognizes that black life matters; and recognizes that there must be a response, “she told The Hill on Tuesday.
The legislation does not compensate those affected by the history of the country’s slavery, but allows Congress to form a committee that will help assess issues of racial inequality in the US.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus met on Wednesday to discuss the next steps.
WHAT IS JUNETEENTH?
Juneteenth, an annual public holiday on June 19, has gained significance this year following nationwide protests over police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other African Americans.
WHAT IS JUNETEENTH? Juneteenth, a junction of June 19 and 19, is also known as Emancipation Day. It commemorates the day in 1865, after the Southern states had surrendered to end the civil war, when a Union general arrived in Texas to inform the last group of enslaved African Americans of their freedom under the proclamation of empowerment from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. In 1980, Texas officially declared it a public holiday. It is now recognized in 46 other states and the District of Columbia. While part celebration, the day is also solemnly celebrated in honor of those who suffered during slavery in the United States with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans over 400 years ago.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT THIS YEAR? This year, Juneteenth coincides with global protests against racial injustice caused by the death of a black man, Floyd, in custody in Minneapolis on May 25. It also accompanies the coronavirus outbreak, which has affected a disproportionate number of color communities. Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump, who was already under attack for his response to both crises, drew further criticism for planning a Friday reelection meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has since moved it to Saturday. Tulsa is an important and especially sensitive site where a white gang massacred African American residents in 1921. Community organizations across the country will devote themselves to discussions on police and civil rights in the run-up to the November elections.
HOW PEOPLE MARK THE DAY? People celebrate the 155th anniversary across the country with festive meals and gatherings. While many cities have canceled this year’s annual pageants because of the pandemic, other groups have opted for virtual conferences or smaller events. In Washington, groups plan marches, protests and gatherings. Amid the wave of protests against racial justice, some U.S. companies have committed to changing policies, including the recognition of the holiday. Among the companies that have announced they will recognize Juneteenth as a paid corporate holiday are the National Football League, THe New York Times, Twitter, and Square.