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John Cornyn. Photo: Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images)

A bipartisan Senate coalition of 27 Democrats, 13 Republicans and two independents are backing a bill to recognize Juneteenth, the June 19 commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday.

Why it matters: 47 states, plus D.C., recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, but legislation to declare it a national holiday has repeatedly stalled in Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service.

  • The bill, introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), was co-signed by 12 Senate Republicans.
  • They include Susan Collins (Maine), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), James Risch (Idaho) and Todd Young (Ind.)

What they're saying: “Juneteenth is time-honored tradition in Texas celebrating the news that all slaves were freed,” Cornyn said. “It’s an annual reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go to achieve the order of equality mentioned in General Granger’s General Order No. 3 in 1865."

  • "It’s past time we honor Juneteenth as a federal holiday so Americans across the nation can celebrate and recognize America’s long-fought path towards equality."

The big picture: A number of U.S. companies recognized Juneteenth this year as a paid holiday, including Nike, Vox Media, Spotify, Lyft, Twitter, Square and the NFL all announced they will be observing Juneteenth as a company holiday.

  • The bill comes after anti-racism protests erupted across the country after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
  • Senate Democrats, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Markey, Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), introduced similar legislation last week.

Go deeper

Harry Reid on eliminating filibuster: It's a matter of "when," not "if"

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday addressed the question of whether Democrats will eliminate the legislative filibuster if they take control of the Senate, telling CNN that it's "not a question of if it's going to be gone, it's only when it's going to be gone."

Why it matters: Current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that "nothing is off the table" if Republicans move ahead with replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election — a threat that likely includes abolishing the Senate's long-standing 60-vote threshold in order to pass sweeping legislation.

3 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

3 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."