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US Senate passes bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

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California | June 16, 2021 4:44:28 AM IST
US Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed bill to make Juneteenth, which recognises or mark the emancipation of formerly enslaved African Americans, a federal holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas learned they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier.Celebrated in 47 states and the District of Columbia, Juneteenth has long unofficially marked the day slavery in America truly ended.

The Hill reported that the legislation -- whose passage comes just days ahead of Juneteenth celebrated on June 19 -- still needs to pass the House. But it is a major step forward after a similar resolution has been blocked in recent years by Republican senators.

"Happy that my bill to recognise Juneteenth as a national holiday just passed the Senate. It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years. Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more perfect union," Senator John Cornyn, the lead GOP sponsor, tweeted after the Senate's action.

Senator Ed Markey, who sponsored the bill, was presiding over the chamber when Majority Leader Charles Schumer successfully got it passed, The Hill further reported.

Senator Ron Johnson, who was viewed as the key hold out, announced earlier Tuesday that he had dropped his objection to passing the bill, clearing its path in the Senate.

"While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter. Therefore, I do not intend to object," Johnson said in a statement. (ANI)

 
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