Oklahoma Senator Proposes Replacing Columbus Day With Juneteenth As Federal Holiday


Thursday, July 2nd 2020, 4:40 am
By: Robert McCarty


WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford filed a bill in hopes to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federally recognized holiday.

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

The following is Lankford’s full news release:

Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, filed an amendment to this legislation Wednesday 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,” said Sen. Lankford. “Throughout our history, we have strived to become a more perfect union and Juneteenth was a huge step in attaining that goal. 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. 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.”

“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,” said Sen. Johnson. “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.”

Text of the amendment is available here.