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Ron Johnson proposes swapping Columbus Day with Juneteenth as federal holiday

(NBC15)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 6:43 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMTV) - Sen. Ron Johnson is proposing to replace federal observance of Columbus Day with Juneteenth.

In a statement, Johnson and Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma praised the aims of Juneteenth, but also added that it makes fiscal sense to replace one federal holiday with another. To the senators, that means Columbus Day has got to go.

"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 Johnson, according to the statement.

"We support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday, but believe we should eliminate a current holiday in exchange," said the senator.

Columbus Day, a holiday removed by some states and dozens of municipalities in favor of Indigenous Peoples' Day, was chosen by the pair to eliminate "as a holiday that is lightly celebrated, and least disruptive to Americans' schedules," Johnson said.

CNN reports that a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and Senate have backed legislation to create Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Those efforts have been co-sponsored by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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