Republican Senators propose replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth Day

by Bryan Brammer · Jul 2nd, 2020 2:54 pm

Last Updated Jul 5th, 2020 at 11:14 am

Two Republican Senators on Wednesday proposed replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth Day as a federal holiday.

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and James Lankford (R-OK) rolled out an amendment to a bill sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) last month to make Juneteenth an official federal holiday.

Johnson said eliminating Columbus Day in exchange for Juneteenth made the most sense because it's a "holiday that is lightly celebrated" and "least disruptive to Americans' schedules."

"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."

Johnson's office reported that the economic cost of a single federal holiday is estimated to be about $600 million. Replacing a federal holiday will be more cost-efficient than adding one, Johnson claims.

"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," Johnson said. "We can reduce these impacts by replacing Columbus Day as a federal holiday with Juneteenth, America's second independence day."


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