News

U.S.

GOP Senators Propose Scrapping Columbus Day, Adding Juneteenth Federal Holiday

The head of a statue of Christopher Columbus was pulled off overnight amid protests against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Boston, Mass., June 10, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Republican senators Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and James Lankford (R., Okla.) introduced an amendment Wednesday that would replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

The proposal, which follows last week’s introduction of a bipartisan Senate bill by Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) that would establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday, is aimed in large part at offsetting the cost associated with Cornyn’s plan. Each new federal holiday costs an estimated $600 million in paid time off for government employees, according to a Fox News report

“Throughout our history, we have strived to become a more perfect union and Juneteenth was a huge step in attaining that goal,” Lankford said in a statement. “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 support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday, but believe we should eliminate a current holiday in exchange,” Johnson said in a statement. “We chose Columbus Day as a holiday that is lightly celebrated, and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules.”

Juneteenth, held on June 19 to commemorate the day in 1865 when slavery definitively ended in the U.S., is currently celebrated as a holiday in 47 states. The holiday has gained increased attention amid the nationwide protests that followed George Floyd’s death in police custody.

Protestors have torn down and vandalized statues of Christopher Columbus, an Italian Renaissance-era explorer often credited with being the first European to discover the Americas. A growing number of critics have called for Columbus Day to be eliminated or renamed Indigenous Peoples’ Day, upset at the celebration of what they see as Columbus’s subjugation and mistreatment of the New World’s native population.

Cornyn told The Hill that eliminating Columbus Day in favor of Juneteenth is “problematic” and “dilutes the message we’re trying to send, which is one of being respectful and honoring and remembering our history.”

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Most Popular

What or Who Decides This Election?

We know where to watch in the next few weeks but have no real idea what we will be watching. Yet pundits, the media, and the Left seem giddy that their polls show a Trump slump, as if they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from 2016. But in truth, the news cycle over the next three months may well favor ... Read More

What or Who Decides This Election?

We know where to watch in the next few weeks but have no real idea what we will be watching. Yet pundits, the media, and the Left seem giddy that their polls show a Trump slump, as if they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from 2016. But in truth, the news cycle over the next three months may well favor ... Read More
World

Massive Explosions Devastate Beirut

A series of massive explosions detonated in Beirut on Tuesday, with footage showing a mushroom cloud and shockwave emanating from the city port. [embed]https://twitter.com/air_intel/status/1290676373485490177[/embed] It is still unclear what caused the explosions. Lebanese security forces claimed the ... Read More
World

Massive Explosions Devastate Beirut

A series of massive explosions detonated in Beirut on Tuesday, with footage showing a mushroom cloud and shockwave emanating from the city port. [embed]https://twitter.com/air_intel/status/1290676373485490177[/embed] It is still unclear what caused the explosions. Lebanese security forces claimed the ... Read More
Elections

The Burning Times

Welcome to The Tuesday, a weekly newsletter about politics, language, culture, pedantry, partisan pyromania, and suchlike. The Right loves a factional brawl, and the past week brought a pentagonic crossfire between Peggy Noonan, Mona Charen, Charlie Sykes, Ramesh Ponnuru, and David French, five right-leaning ... Read More
Elections

The Burning Times

Welcome to The Tuesday, a weekly newsletter about politics, language, culture, pedantry, partisan pyromania, and suchlike. The Right loves a factional brawl, and the past week brought a pentagonic crossfire between Peggy Noonan, Mona Charen, Charlie Sykes, Ramesh Ponnuru, and David French, five right-leaning ... Read More
Media

A Brutal Assessment of Cable News

On the menu today: An MSNBC producer resigns, and metaphorically nails 95 theses to the doors of cable news, spotlighting how the industry has failed in its duties to inform the public; the president has another pyrotechnic explosion of a television interview; unnamed White House staffers whisper that the ... Read More
Media

A Brutal Assessment of Cable News

On the menu today: An MSNBC producer resigns, and metaphorically nails 95 theses to the doors of cable news, spotlighting how the industry has failed in its duties to inform the public; the president has another pyrotechnic explosion of a television interview; unnamed White House staffers whisper that the ... Read More
Culture

Monsters Galore

Vanity Fair, that peerless assessor of all things political, has bravely come out with the shocking opinion that the movies, TV, and our much-vaunted national media-industrial complex don’t hate right-wing women as much as they ought to, leading to the unjust and the always unhappy conclusion that people such ... Read More
Culture

Monsters Galore

Vanity Fair, that peerless assessor of all things political, has bravely come out with the shocking opinion that the movies, TV, and our much-vaunted national media-industrial complex don’t hate right-wing women as much as they ought to, leading to the unjust and the always unhappy conclusion that people such ... Read More