The Senate passed an anti-discrimination bill Thursday afternoon to address the rise in hate crimes against Asians in the US with wide, bipartisan margins.
Ninety-four senators voted in favor of the measure, while there was only one vote no, from Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley – who became known nationally earlier this year for his role in challenging the Electoral College’s vote on the day of the MAGA rel.
The bill is more than just a statement against anti-Asian hatred, it mandates the Justice and Health and Human Services ministries to issue new guidance on the increase in violence against Asians during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Senate on Thursday voted overwhelmingly on a bill to combat the increase in hate crimes against Asians that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic.
Senator Josh Hawley was the only no-vote on the bill. Hawley became a national political figure for his role in challenging the Electoral College’s vote count on the day of the January 6 MAGA riot.
The bill is speeding up the DOJ’s overhaul of anti-Asian hate crimes.
It also appoints an officer to direct the task.
It is now moving to the Democratic-run House, where it is also expected to pass.
The Senate vote is the latest step the federal government has taken to roll back what President Joe Biden sees as the crimes of the latest administration, blaming former President Donald Trump for labeling COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung flu’. . ‘
‘It’s the corona virus. Complete stop, ”Biden said last month speaking in Atlanta after meeting with Asian-American community leaders in the aftermath of the spate of spa shootings targeting mostly Asian women.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also pointed the finger at the former occupant.
“ I think there is no doubt that some of the damaging rhetoric we saw during the government’s earlier allegation – calling COVID the Wuhan virus or other things – has led to perceptions of the Asian-American community that are inaccurate, be dishonest and threatening. heightened threats against Asian-Americans and we see that across the country, ”Psaki said in a briefing in March.
Trump has continued to use the term ‘China virus’ in statements since he left office.
Biden took steps to stop using those terms a few days after his sweaing-in by signing an executive order entitled ‘Memorandum condemning and combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United Stateson Day No. 6 of his presidency.
“The federal government must recognize that it has played a role in promoting these xenophobic sentiments through the actions of political leaders, including references to the COVID-19 pandemic based on the geographic location of its origin,” the order said.
“Such statements have fueled baseless fears and stigma against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and have contributed to increasing harassment, intimidation and hate crimes against AAPI individuals,” it continued.
In late March, Attorney General Merrick ordered Garland to investigate how the Justice Department can best use its resources to combat hate crimes against Asian-Americans.
At the same time, Biden’s government said $ 49.5 million from COVID-19 emergency relief funds would go to community programs to help victims.
More recently, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made the wave of hate crimes in the US an international concern, telling reporters in the Rose Garden Friday that he raised the issue with Biden during their personal bilateral meeting.
President Biden’s comment [that] discrimination or violence cannot [be] permitted and strongly opposed to was extremely encouraging to me and I have renewed my confidence in American democracy, ”added the Japanese leader through his English translator.
The group Stop AAPI Hate – the acronym that stands for Asian-American and Pacific Islander – released a report last month that said there were 3,795 incidents reported to the group between March 19, 2020 and the end of February 2021.
One concern is that hate crimes are in fact underreported.
Part of the bill passed by the Senate is that the DOJ will coordinate with local law enforcement and community groups and share information about reporting hate crimes.
Hawley said last week that he intended to vote no to the measure calling it “ too open-ended. ” according to CNN.
The bill prescribes “all this data collection in comprehensive categories that the federal government will collect and maintain.”
“That worries me,” Hawley said.
Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii teamed up with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine to get the legislation in bipartisan form, allowing for the near universal passage.
Senate leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, announced the passage as a message to bigots: “We’re going after you.”