Rep. Jim Clyburn says new Juneteenth federal holiday gives him ‘hope’

The South Carolina congressman tells "The View" that the bill was a “real good bipartisan demonstration of accepting the fact that slavery did exist and it did come to an end on June 19, 1865.”
6:47 | 06/18/21

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Transcript for Rep. Jim Clyburn says new Juneteenth federal holiday gives him ‘hope’
We'll start with getting some things done. Juneteenth just became a federal holiday. Why do you think it took 156 years to finally be acknowledged and does it give you hope? Thank you very much for having me. It does give me hope. The fact of the matter is this country has a very spotted history when it comes to race. So much about slavery that we have failed to come to grips with. Juneteenth is one of those -- a prime example. Juneteenth occurred on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the emancipation proclamation simply because no one communicated with those people down in Texas. The lack of communication is what led to that. As I sit on the floor of the house yesterday or the day before, we have to learn how to communicate with each other. If you communicate, you got a good chance of getting things resolved. I hope that solid vote that we had two days ago on this bill, 300 something to 14, that was a real good vote. It was a real good bipartisan demonstration of accepting the fact that slavery did exist and it did come to an end on June 19, 186 a. Congressman, I am hopeful after seeing this legislation pass. Then of course there were certain congressman, Republican congressman, that voted against the legislation saying in part there were already too many federal holidays. Also, you know, although it was made a national holiday at the same time legislation is being passed in Texas likely banning children from learning about juneteenth in its schools. Why do you think there is this push to erase history? Well, as I said earlier, I just think that people have a hard time coming to grips with what's real. Joe santiono said if you fail to learn the lessons of history you're bound to repeat them. You can't learn history lessons until you come to grips with what the history is all about. Back in the 1830s there was a book wrote "The democracy in America." What's written is that America has always been able to repair its faults. History tells us about slavery. It's one of those faults. We ought to do everything we can to repair that fault. Not run away from it. Not deny it. Not be ashamed of it. I don't ask anybody to be responsible for what happened between 1619 and 1865, but I ask us to be mindful in our role today in trying to get it right and continuing our pursuit of a more perfect union. At least 14 states enacted 22 new laws making it harder to vote, from restricting absentee and mail-in ballots to preventing nonpoll workers from handing out water. Critics say these laws disproportionately harm voters of color and, since there's absolutely no proof of widespread voter fraud, is this obvious voter suppression, and what can you do about it? Absolutely. What we can do about it is pass hr-1 that's now s-1 sitting in the senator. We can do hr-4. I know what the dynamics are around getting hr-4 out of the house and into the senate. The senate is very aware of the things we're trying to do with hr-4. Senator Manchin said he would love to see hr-4 applied to all 50 states. If that's true, then we won't need for the house to go through what it's going through now to develop a record that you have to have if you single states out. If you have something that covers all 50 states, then you don't have to have that kind of wrapper. I've said why don't we put the things in hr-4 into hr-1, now s-1, and pass it as one big bill and we don't have to worry about developing this record that the supreme court says you have to have if you single states out. Manchin said he's fine with applying all 50 states. That would be a good thing. Although yesterday Joe Manchin opened the idea of compromise on voting rights, he's still holding a lot of power over Biden's agenda when it comes to things like infrastructure and eliminating or weakening the filibuster. How can you keep moderates like him happy and still get things done? Well, I've said to senator Manchin and I wrote an op-ed piece that was published Wednesday morning. In that op-ed I said I'm not asking senator Manchin or anybody else to eliminate the filibuster. I'm asking them to consider the fact that you have made an exception for budget matters. You call it reconciliation. The word reconciliation applies much more aptly to constitutional issues than it does to budgetary issues. Why not subject these constitutional issues to the same kind of modification that you've done for the budget. If he were to do that, the problem would be solved. You don't have to eliminate it. If you want to filibuster, whether or not you have how long it ought to be, those are legislative issues. Fine, filibuster on that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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