According to CNN, The House is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that would establish June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
After passing the Senate unanimously on Tuesday, the bill is anticipated to pass the House. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a conservative, had previously rejected it in 2020, but despite his reservations, he lifted his opposition this week.
In a tweet, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer congratulated the bill’s bipartisan supporters, including Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, and Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
“I look forward to bringing this bill to the Floor, and urge bipartisan support,” Hoyer wrote.
The legislation has gained momentum after the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd last year and the Democrats’ takeover of the White House and Congress.
The bill will be sent to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law once it passes.
Major General Gordon Granger declared the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, in line with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday in 1980. Every state except South Dakota has recognized Juneteenth as a national holiday in the decades afterward, although only a few states have made it a paid holiday.
“We commemorate Juneteenth as the day that word of emancipation finally reached enslaved people in Texas in 1865, but we know the struggle for true Black liberation continues,” said Senator Markey. “This legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday is but one step we can take to begin to right the wrongs of the past in order to ensure equal justice in the future. Today we commemorate. Tomorrow, we fight.”