Federal government to be closed Friday, June 18, in observance.
Mississippi’s entire federal delegation has voted to mark June 19th as an annual federal holiday recognizing the date in 1865 when federal troops informed Texas at slaves were freed by then-President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.
The U.S. House voted 415-14 late Wednesday to mark the date. None of the 14 Republicans voting no were from Mississippi. Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS01), Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS02), Congressman Michael Guest (R-MS03), and Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS04) all voted yes on the act.
The measure passed the U.S. Senate a day before without amendment by Unanimous Consent, meaning Mississippi Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith did not object and voted to consent.
Once the motion to reconsider is dispensed of in the House, the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act” will be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature, which is expected sometime today.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management tweeted Thursday morning, “Today POTUS will sign the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday. As the 19th falls on a Saturday, most federal employees will observe the holiday tomorrow, June 18th.”
Today @POTUS will sign the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday. As the 19th falls on a Saturday, most federal employees will observe the holiday tomorrow, June 18th.
— U.S. Office of Personnel Management (@USOPM) June 17, 2021
Mississippi 2nd District Congressman Thompson (D) was an active supporter of the new holiday, tweeting, “Make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Pass it on,” ahead of the Wednesday vote.
Make #Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Pass it on https://t.co/EtEDHBvgkR
— Bennie G. Thompson (@BennieGThompson) June 16, 2021
One of the 14 Republicans who voted no on the measure, Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie said on the House floor that while he supported marking the end of slavery, he did foresaw confusion over the name of the day which could create racial division.
“However, naming this day National Independence Day will create confusion and push Americans to pick one of those two days as their Independence Day based on their racial identity,” Congressman Massie said.