JUST IN: Only One Senator Votes Against Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act

Cornelia Mascio
Апреля 23, 2021

"Senator Collins and I identified changes that will broaden support for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act while retaining the bill's core objective to combat anti-Asian hate", Hirono said in a statement after the breakthrough in talks.

A series of Republican-led amendments, such as one from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), requiring a report on religious freedom during the pandemic, were all voted down. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), the bill's lead Senate sponsor. Senate Republicans had originally expressed concerns about the need for the legislation, but both sides negotiated amendments to the final bill to address Republicans' hesitation. Hirono worked with GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

One concern is that hate crimes are actually underreported. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), which included grants for state and local governments to improve their reporting systems, was incorporated into the bill, along with language from Sen.

'President Biden's comment [that] discriminations or violences can not [be] allowed and that he firmly opposes was extremely encouraging for me and I have renewed my confidence in American democracy once again, ' the Japanese leader added, through his English translator.

Additionally, there was early support for the legislation - with amendments - from Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who referenced the experiences of his wife, former Trump administration official Elaine Chao.

The amendment, proposed by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Kennedy (R-LA), did not meet the needed 60 vote yea threshold to pass.

In an unbelievably cynical move, Senate Democrats blocked efforts to stop discrimination against Asian Americans in higher education, where racial bias has become all too common.

More recently, Japanse Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made the surge of hate crimes in the U.S.an worldwide concern, telling reporters in the Rose Garden on Friday that he had brought up the issue with Biden during their in-person bilateral meeting.

Advocates hailed the bill's passage. She said the attacks are "a predictable and foreseeable consequence" of racist and inflammatory language that has been used against Asians during the pandemic, including slurs used by former President Donald Trump.

The bill, known as the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, sends a "powerful message of solidarity to the [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community that the Senate will not be a bystander as anti-Asian violence surges in our country", Hirono said on the Senate floor before the bill's passage. Hirono introduced the legislation in the Senate. "There are cultural issues or attitudinal issues", she said of the rise in bias. According to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, about a third of Asian American adults fear attacks on them, a higher proportion than other ethnic groups, and 81 percent of Asian American adults said violence against them was increasing, compared to a little over half of all American adults.

The 94-1 bipartisan vote responds to growing calls for action, including from President Joe Biden who pointed to last month's shootings by a white gunman at three Atlanta-area spas that left eight people dead.

"By passing this bill, we'll send a message to the country that should be all too obvious by now", said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.

Republicans said last week that they agreed with the premise of the legislation and signaled they were willing to back it with minor changes, an unusual sign of comity amid frequent standstills in the polarized Senate.

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