Biden isn’t the first president to propose making Juneteenth a federal holiday—but his rendition of Juneteenth was the most agonized version yet.
Biden Signs Juneteenth Federal Holiday Into Law.
On June 17, President Joe Biden signed the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act,” making June 19, or “Juneteenth,” a federal holiday.
Juneteenth is a commemoration of the day in 1865 that the Emancipation Proclamation was enforced in Galveston, Texas, freeing the last enslaved Americans in Texas. The holiday was acknowledged in presidential messages under former presidents Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump, who pledged in 2020 to make the commemoration into a federal holiday, but it ultimately did not occur during his administration.
Biden’s remarks on Thursday emphasized a somber view of ongoing moral culpability for white Americans, calling it “a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take—what I’ve long called ‘America’s original sin.'”
The so-called President’s words strike as especially odd tone given his proud 1987 proclamation that his state was on the side of the south during the civil war. Seriously.
At the time, he claimed Delaware was a “slave state that fought beside the North. That’s only because we couldn’t figure out how to get to the South. There were a couple of states in the way.”
But Juneteenth doesn’t just commemorate the fall of an old, unjust way of life 156 years ago, Biden now says, in 2021.
It “marks both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation, and a promise of a brighter morning to come,” (i.e., in America’s future).
He added that Juneteenth is an opportunity to remember America’s “most painful moments,” “come to terms with the mistakes we made,” and “grow stronger.”
He made no apology for claiming to be on the side of the South, previously, despite his own party ahistorically demanding apologies from Republicans for the very same thing.
Both of Biden’s predecessors took a very different tone, calling Juneteenth “a time to reflect on the common values and ideals that we share as Americans” (Obama) and a reminder “of both the unimaginable injustice of slavery and the incomparable joy that must have attended emancipation” (Trump).
To hear it from this president, it’s day of celebration for some, a day of reckoning for others.
Biden on Healthcare Ruling: “Remains the Law of the Land”.
President Biden issued a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as constitutional after a group of Republican-led states contended that the ACA’s requirement to obtain minimum health insurance, enforced by a penalty that was reduced to $0, is unconstitutional.
“After more than a decade of attacks on the Affordable Care Act through the Congress and the courts, today’s decision—the third major challenge to the law that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected—it is time [to] move forward and keep building on this landmark law,” the statement reads.
The court found that “With the penalty zeroed out, the IRS can no longer seek a penalty from those who fail to comply . . . Because of this, there is no possible Government action that is causally connected to the plaintiffs’ injury—the costs of purchasing health insurance.”
Biden’s $2 trillion American Families Plan aims to permanently extend Covid-era enhancements and expanded eligibility for the ACA’s health insurance subsidies for families. As of June 16, 45 percent of Americans polled said the price tag was worth it.
Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) became involved in separate healthcare-related legal battles on Thursday, filing statements of interest supporting lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against bills that would ban biologically male transgender students from participating in women’s school sports and prohibit gender transition surgeries on minors.
Quotable: The French Love Us.
In an on-the-record, follow-up press call to Biden’s European tour, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan claimed that “Joe Biden confidently and skillfully donned the mantle of leader of the free world,” and that the trip was “an unusually productive, substantive set of summits with real, tangible outcomes.”
Cited as evidence that America is respected again on the world stage: a one-word answer by French president Emmanuel Macron—put on the spot by Biden himself.
“You’ve got the French president, when asked if America was back, saying, ‘Definitely,'” Sullivan said.