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Rep. Mo Brooks explains “No” vote on Juneteenth holiday bill

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (Bob Gathany/bgathany@al.com)
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (Bob Gathany/bgathany@al.com)(WTVY News 4)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 11:15 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A new bill declaring Juneteenth as a federal holiday passed with overwhelming bipartisan support this week. The Senate passed it with a unanimous consent decree Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the bill with only 14 of the 429 votes cast being “no”.

One of those votes against the bill came from north Alabama Republican Mo Brooks.

We reached out to Brooks for more information on what led him to his decision. A spokesperson sent us this response:

Congressman Brooks believes America should celebrate slaves gaining their freedom with a federal holiday but he doesn’t think June 19th is the appropriate day for the holiday. June 19th is significant to Texas but the day America celebrates slaves gaining their freedom should be on a day of national significance. The day the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, or the days the 13th, 14th or 15th amendments were passed, or the end of the Civil War would be more appropriate. He would also prefer that another federal holiday be eliminated to offset the $1 billion price tag associated with giving federal workers the day off.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.

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