Seven Republicans Voted Against Juneteenth and Giving Medals to January 6 Officers

The House passed bills that garnered huge bipartisan support in Congress over two consecutive days this week, one aimed to award the officers who protected the Capitol on January 6 with gold medals and the second sought to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The first vote to award United States Capitol Police officers the Congressional Gold Medal—one of the highest civilian honors—passed by a vote of 406-21 on Tuesday.

The second, Senate Bill 475, or the "Juneteenth National Independence Day Act," passed by 415-14 votes on Wednesday. In both cases, the only lawmakers who voted against the bill were Republicans.

In total, seven GOP representatives who opposed recognizing June 19 as a federal holiday also opposed rewarding the January 6 officers for their efforts protecting the Capitol during the deadly January 6 attack.

Republicans who voted against Juneteenth and awarding gold medals to Capitol police

  • Andy Biggs, Arizona
  • Andrew Clyde, Georgia
  • Paul Gosar, Arizona
  • Thomas Massie, Kentucky
  • Ralph Norman, South Carolina
  • Matt Rosendale, Montana
  • Chip Roy, Texas

On Wednesday, Biggs tweeted two videos explaining his reasons for opposing the bills.

With regard to voting against awarding congressional gold medals to the January 6 officers, Biggs said that while he supports the police, the bill itself was "a manipulation" by the Democrats.

"This is coming from people who have advocated for defunding police, resulting in soaring crime rates in various cities around this country," Biggs said.

"I just can't understand the hypocrisy of the Left who want to get rid of the police, and then try to cover their tracks with this phoney bologna bill.

"I believe that there are certain officers that deserve medals that acted so meticulously on January 6, if we could do a clean piece of legislation that could support that, instead of having a catchy title so you can bash people because of the title of the bill."

Biggs was referring to the defund the police movement, which is aimed at reallocating money given to law enforcement departments to other areas such as social and community-based projects. It doesn't specifically aim to get rid of police departments.

Prior to the June 19 vote, Biggs said he would be opposing the bill because he had an issue with the name. He claimed the Democrats could have brought forward a "harmonious, celebratory bill" that everyone would have voted for if they had changed the name to Juneteenth National Emancipation Day.

"But, they've weaponized this bill like they've weaponized everything else," Biggs added. "I support the celebration of Juneteenth, I think that is a critical part of our nation's history.

"If they named this correctly, if they included Republicans and said let's join together to celebrate the emancipation proclamation and starting of the end of this dark time in our history, they would have had this great opportunity to unify congress and send a signal to America that we can unify at a time of stark divisions."

Other GOP reps who also voted against awarding the Capitol police medals said they voted against the Juneteenth bill claiming it would further divide the nation.

"Juneteenth is more debunked Critical Race Theory in action. I reject racism. I reject the racial division people are promoting. I voted no because this proposed holiday does not bring us together, it tears us apart," Rep. Gosar said in a statement.

"I cannot support efforts that further racial divisions in this country. We have one Independence Day, and it applies equally to all people of all races."

Rep. Rosendale also claimed the Juneteenth bill is part of larger efforts from Democrats to make Critical Race Theory the "reigning ideology of our country."

He added: "Since I believe in treating everyone equally, regardless of race, and that we should be focused on what unites us rather than our differences, I will vote no."

When asked why he voted against the bill to award medals to the Capitol police officers, Rosendale's office told NBC Montana that he opposed the amendment to give the medal to Officer Billy Evans, who was killed in a ram-raiding attack on April 2, as a car drove into a barricade outside the Capitol building.

"Rosendale voted in favor of a bill to give gold medals to USCP in March. Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi is continuing to play politics with the events of that day and months later brought a bill to the floor with an unrelated act of violence at the Capitol perpetrated by an Islamic extremist-attempting to pin that act on protesters months prior."

When asked if Evans should be honored separately, Rosendale's spokesperson added: "He believes that he should be honored (he did lie in honor at the Capitol) and would have voted for a Gold Medal for Officer Evans. But this bill did not do that, and instead his sacrifice was wrapped into Jan 6th, which he believes dishonors the memory of Officer Evans."

Rep. Roy also said he previously backed the legislation to award the January 6 officers with medals, but that he no longer supported the bill because it has since been amended to include events that have "absolutely nothing" to do with the Capitol riot.

"Instead of honoring our men and women of law enforcement, Democrats are playing political games with the tragedy of April 2, 2021, when Officer William 'Billy' Evans was killed and Officer Kenneth Shaver was injured by a man obsessed with the Nation of Islam who slammed his vehicle into the north barricade of the U.S. Capitol complex," Roy said.

"Because this incident does not fit into the left's narrative, the Democrats and media have been silent about this attack. I will always back the blue and recognize the bravery of law enforcement—they are true American heroes. I will however, not condone this obvious political maneuver by the Democrats."

Roy said that he couldn't vote for the June 19 bill because the holiday should instead be called "Juneteenth National Emancipation [or Freedom or otherwise] Day."

Roy added: "This name needlessly divides our nation on a matter that should instead bring us together by creating a separate Independence Day based on the color of one's skin."

house vote juneteenth capitol
(File photo) Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Seven GOP representatives opposed both recognizing June 19 as a holiday and awarding the January 6 officers medals for their efforts during the Capitol attack. Getty Images