Speed Reads

time to celebrate

House overwhelmingly votes to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

With a vote of 415-14, the House on Wednesday approved a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill on Tuesday, and it now heads to President Biden's desk for his signature.

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 to mark the end of slavery in the United States, when Union soldiers let the last enslaved people in Texas know that they were free. It is already a holiday in several states, and celebrations are held in cities across the U.S.  Juneteenth will be the country's 12th federal holiday, and the first new one since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.

"Our federal holidays are purposely few in number and recognize the most important milestones," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said. "I cannot think of a more important milestone to commemorate than the end of slavery in the United States."

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) was one of the Republicans who voted against the bill, saying in a statement beforehand that "since I believe in treating everyone equally, regardless of race, and that we should be focused on what unites us rather than our differences, I will vote no."