Joe Biden Did Not Sponsor or Co-sponsor Any Juneteenth Bills in Senate

In this Oct. 12, 1991, file photo, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., points angrily at Clarence Thomas during comments at the end of hearings on Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., watches at right.
AP Photo/Greg Gibson

Former Vice President Joe Biden did not sponsor or co-sponsor any of the six bills recognizing Juneteenth during his time in the U.S. Senate, though he is now attempting to champion the holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates the day that slaves in Galveston, Texas, were informed — on June 19, 1865 — that they had been freed by President Abraham Lincoln in the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years before.

A search of GovTrack records of congressional bills, which is a complete record of all legislation dating back to 1973 — the year Biden entered the Senate — finds that Biden neither sponsored no co-sponsored any of the six bills that were introduced to commemorate the day:

  • 1997 – S.J.Res. 11 (105th) – introduced by Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), 2 Democrat and 2 Republican co-sponsors
  • 2001 – S.Con.Res. 51 (107th) – introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), 1 Republican co-sponsor
  • 2005 – S.Con.Res. 42 (109th) – introduced by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), 2 Democrat co-sponsors
  • 2006 – S.Res. 516 (109th) – introduced by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), 2 Democrat and 2 Republican co-sponsors
  • 2007 – S.Res. 231 (110th) – introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), 23 co-sponsors (19 D, 2 R, 2 Independent)
  • 2008 – S.Res. 584 (110th) – introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), 18 co-sponsors (16D, 1R, 1I

Of the resolutions above, the last three (2006, 2007, 2008) were agreed to, though there was no roll call vote.

A search at Congress.gov confirmed that Biden was not involved in sponsoring or co-sponsoring any resolutions related to Juneteenth. Biden served in the Senate for 36 years.

Biden published an op-ed in Essence on Friday calling Juneteenth “a day of profound weight and power.”

He added: “The Psalms tell us that ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ Juneteenth contains both the long, hard night—the two-and-a-half years those enslaved in Galveston, Texas, endured before learning of their emancipation—and the promise of the brighter morning to come.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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