Federal employees will immediately get day off for ‘Juneteenth’ holiday on Friday

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Federal employees will get an immediate day off on Friday to mark the new Juneteenth federal holiday, just hours after President Biden signs it into law.

The Office of Personnel Management said because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, “most federal employees will observe the holiday tomorrow, June 18th.”

Mr. Biden is signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act at the White House on Thursday to make June 19 the latest federal holiday.

The holiday marks the day that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned in 1865 that slavery had been abolished years earlier under the Emancipation Proclamation.

Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican, said he supports celebrating the day’s significance but voted against the bill because Democrats were seeking to divide the country over it.

“They’ve weaponized this bill like they weaponize everything else,” Mr. Biggs said. He said Democrats should have called the holiday “Juneteenth National Emancipation Day” and reached out to the GOP.

“They want to divide, and that’s just a shame,” he said. “It’s an important part of our nation’s history.”

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