Jun 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats introduce legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris during a Judiciary Committee hearing. Photo: Tom Williams/Pool/Getty Images

A group of Senate Democrats introduced legislation Friday that would make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The big picture: 46 states and the District of Columbia recognize the holiday commemorating the end of slavery, but legislation to declare it a paid federal holiday has repeatedly stalled in Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service.

  • Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) were behind the move.
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said on the Senate floor Thursday that he also planned to introduce similar legislation.
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) also put forth a resolution asking the House to recognize the holiday.

Why it matters: It's yet another tangible effect of the Black Lives Matter protests across the country, highlighting their ability to fast-track societal changes and recognition.

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