Democrats have fully aligned themselves with the celebration of Juneteenth and have fully supported the dissolution of Columbus Day but it is rare that Republicans in Congress get behind the same cause. Two Republicans in the Senate are setting the tone in the right-wing party by proposing an amendment that would recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
Oklahoma Senator James Lankford and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson proposed the change on Wednesday on Capitol Hill. As a consequence to adding Juneteenth to the federal holiday calendarand reportedly not wanting to create another day of holiday pay to the calendar, the two politicians want to discontinue Columbus Day as a federal holiday.
“Juneteenth is a day in our history that redefined the meaning of freedom and equality in America,” Sen. Lankford said according to Fox News. “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.”
The senators also noted that Columbus Day was not chosen because of the historical context that has come to light in recent years of Christopher Columbus’ assault on Native Americans, but because Columbus Day is “lightly celebrated” and “leasat disruptive” to American’s schedules.
It seems unlikely that other republicans will get behind the cancellation of Columbus Day. The drafter of the bill, Texas Senator John Cornyn says it would be “problematic” to cancel Columbus Day.