Senate is slated to advance on Wednesday on a rare bipartisan effort looking to investigate into and halt hate crimes against Asian American citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both sides warned the tentative framework could still fall apart. However, senators signaled an earnestness to merge differing proposals that could lead to bipartisan passage of a bill by the end of the week.
Calling on GOP Support for Asian Hate Crimes Bill
Top congressional Democrats are prompting their GOP colleagues to support legislation introduced by Representative Grace Meng and Senator Mazie Hirono that addresses the increasing number of hate crimes and violence against Asian American citizens. According to Meng, "For more than a year, the Asian American community has been fighting two viruses, the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-Asian hate. We've heard about and seen videos of both young and elderly Asian Americans being shoved to the ground, stomped on, being spat on and shunned. These heinous acts have been outrageous, unconscionable and they must end," reported NPR.
Despite a number of Republicans raising concerns regarding the bill, it is slated to advance on the Senate floor. This will allow time for debate and extra amendments. The bill would accelerate the federal government's response to hate crimes against Asian American citizens. It will also strengthen guidance for local and state government hate crime coverage.
According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. on Tuesday, he plans to set forth a bill targeting anti-Asian hate crimes to the floor this week and prompted Republicans not to bar it. Schumer stated tackling hate in the Asian American community could and should be bipartisan, reported NBC News.
The Senate is poised to commence debate on legislation tackling the rise of potential hate crimes against Asian Americans. The growing problem will also test whether the chamber could push past partisanship on an issue crucial to numerous constituents, reported US News.
The bill would speed up the Justice Department's evaluation of hate crimes as the Asian American community has witnessed an increase in incidents amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. It also would task the department to cooperate with community-based organizations and local law enforcement groups to raise awareness.
Such passage would be very uncommon in a chamber that has been dominated in the past few months by a presidential impeachment trial and the Democrats' party-line passage of the American Rescue Plan. According to Hirono on Tuesday, the main sponsor of the hate crime bill, she is willing to broaden her bill to more vividly capture varied instances of anti-Asian crimes.
Meng remarked combating hate should not be a partisan issue. The New York Democrat added that Democrats and Republicans should stand together against racism and brutality and that they should say enough is enough.
Democrats have an inferior 50-seat majority in the Senate. Sixty votes are necessitated to limit debate on legislation and then transfer it to the Senate floor for a full vote. According to Republican Senator Chuck Grassley on Tuesday, the bill would receive adequate support from the GOP to advance. However, he said that he was hoping it could be amended.