Sen. Johnson co-files amendment to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as new federal holiday

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and committee member James Lankford (R-Okla.), filed an amendment to federal legislation on Wednesday, July 1 that would replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a new federal holiday.

The filed amendment follows a decision in Franklin County, Ohio. There, Juneteenth replaced Columbus Day as a holiday for board of commissioner employees.

The economic cost of a single federal holiday has been estimated at around $600 million for paid time off for federal employees, and a watchdog report on Fiscal Year 2016 calculated that the federal government pays its workforce $524 million per day, according to Sen. Johnson's office.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson

“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."

Sen. Johnson also said that Columbus Day was chosen because it is a holiday that is "lightly celebrated" and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules.

Text of the amendment is available HERE