GOP senators propose replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as new federal holiday

Two Republican senators have filed an amendment to a piece of legislation that would replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a new federal holiday.”Juneteenth is a day in our history that redefined the meaning of freedom and equality in America,” Sen. James Lankford, of Oklahoma, said in a news release. “Throughout our history, we have strived to become a more perfect union and Juneteenth was a huge step in attaining that goal.”Lankford and Sen. Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, filed the amendment to Sen. John Cornyn’s bipartisan bill that would make Juneteenth a federal holiday.”We should celebrate these strides on the federal level while remaining cognizant of the impact the existing 10 federal holidays have on federal services and local businesses,” Lankford said. “We can reduce these impacts by replacing Columbus Day as a federal holiday with Juneteenth, America’s second Independence Day. I’m hopeful the Senate will support this amendment to celebrate this significant day in our nation’s history.” According to the news release, only 21 states recognize Columbus Day as a paid holiday. The economic cost of a single federal holiday has been estimated around $600 million for paid time off for federal employees, and a report on fiscal year 2016 calculated that the federal government pays its workforce $524 million per day.”In response to a bipartisan effort to give federal workers another day of paid leave by designating Juneteenth a federal holiday, we have offered a counterproposal that does not put us further in debt,” Johnson said. “We support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday, but believe we should eliminate a current holiday in exchange. We chose Columbus Day as a holiday that is lightly celebrated, and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules.”Lankford’s and Johnson’s amendment can be read here.

Two Republican senators have filed an amendment to a piece of legislation that would replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a new federal holiday.

“Juneteenth is a day in our history that redefined the meaning of freedom and equality in America,” Sen. James Lankford, of Oklahoma, said in a news release. “Throughout our history, we have strived to become a more perfect union and Juneteenth was a huge step in attaining that goal.”

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Lankford and Sen. Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, filed the amendment to Sen. John Cornyn’s bipartisan bill that would make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

“We should celebrate these strides on the federal level while remaining cognizant of the impact the existing 10 federal holidays have on federal services and local businesses,” Lankford said. “We can reduce these impacts by replacing Columbus Day as a federal holiday with Juneteenth, America’s second Independence Day. I’m hopeful the Senate will support this amendment to celebrate this significant day in our nation’s history.”

According to the news release, only 21 states recognize Columbus Day as a paid holiday. The economic cost of a single federal holiday has been estimated around $600 million for paid time off for federal employees, and a report on fiscal year 2016 calculated that the federal government pays its workforce $524 million per day.

“In response to a bipartisan effort to give federal workers another day of paid leave by designating Juneteenth a federal holiday, we have offered a counterproposal that does not put us further in debt,” Johnson said. “We support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday, but believe we should eliminate a current holiday in exchange. We chose Columbus Day as a holiday that is lightly celebrated, and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules.”

Lankford’s and Johnson’s amendment can be read here.

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