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U.S. Senate passes bill to fight anti-Asian hate crimes

WorldApr 22, 2021 11:00PM ET
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© Reuters. People participate in a Stop Asian Hate rally at Columbus Park in New York

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A hate crimes bill to combat violence against Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic passed the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly on Thursday, a rare bipartisan vote in the evenly divided chamber.

The bill passed 94-1, with Missouri Senator Josh Hawley the only no vote. It must pass the House of Representatives, where Democrats hold a clear majority. President Joe Biden has called for passage.

"When given the opportunity to work, the Senate can work. Members from both sides of the aisle have worked together ... to consider and perfect and enact legislation responding to a pressing issue," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor earlier in the week.

Reports of violence against Asian Americans have spiked since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Activists and police said anti-Asian sentiment was fed by comments from former President Donald Trump blaming the pandemic on China using terms such as “kung flu.”.

The measure, authored by Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Grace Meng, designates a Justice Department employee to expedite a review of hate crimes reported to police during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides guidance for local law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes, expand public education campaigns and combat discriminatory language in describing the pandemic.

"This legislation will improve the Justice Department’s response to the appalling rise in hate incidents targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community," said the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin.

In one sign of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 92-6 on April 14 to advance the measure, and senators from both parties worked on changes.

"Earnest bipartisan conversations have improved this legislation considerably behind the scenes," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week.

One change, the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, would provide funds to improve reporting of hate crimes and expand resources for victims. It was named after Khalid Jabara, an Arab-American killed by a neighbor in 2016, and Heather Heyer, killed in 2017 when a car drove into counter-protesters after a white supremacist rally in Virginia.

U.S. Senate passes bill to fight anti-Asian hate crimes
 

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Comments (9)
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 23, 2021 10:16AM ET
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these politicians care nothing about people, let alone asians
Tony Coll
Tony Coll Apr 23, 2021 7:26AM ET
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Like Denzel said, "You can't legislate love". You can only create more criminals, which is why more laws are never the answer. Perhaps if they invested time and resources into education...
Pat Mathieu
Pat Mathieu Apr 23, 2021 3:43AM ET
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They're too incompetent and coward to enforce current laws so they invent new ones. Enough!
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 23, 2021 3:43AM ET
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who is "they"?
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Apr 23, 2021 1:45AM ET
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This is a political move. The Los Angeles riot got nothing to do with asian but they attacked and k/i/lled asian. Did the Dem do anything? Nothing, nada, zip, zero because the black did it.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 23, 2021 1:45AM ET
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in 1992 California governor was Pete Wilson, a republican, but why let facts ruin a good rant eh?
President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping Apr 22, 2021 11:28PM ET
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Everyones a victim these days.
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Apr 22, 2021 8:05PM ET
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I knew it.  So they are saying black in New York city listened to Trump and attack Asians.  Lol Lol Lol
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Apr 22, 2021 6:18PM ET
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It was all triggered in NYC as Asians excelled past blacks. The Asians can start with 0 and have a professional job or self employment in a yr or 2. Blacks have been going backwards since the 50s because they depend on government and many are dropouts in NYC. So now the blacks are being passed by Hispanic and Asian
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 22, 2021 6:18PM ET
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"Blacks have been going backwards since the 50s"  -- so you are saying blacks in america back in the 50's were better off, you know, like when they can't get professional jobs and had to sit at the back of the bus and can't play in golf courses, things like that
joe balone
joe balone Apr 22, 2021 6:18PM ET
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Tre Hsi the black family nucleus has declined. Most children born out of wedlock with deadbeat parents.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 22, 2021 4:37PM ET
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Does everyone realize what race predominantly commits anti-Asian crimes?
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Apr 22, 2021 4:37PM ET
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Blacks
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 22, 2021 4:32PM ET
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More democrat waste.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 22, 2021 4:32PM ET
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"The bill passed 94-1, with Missouri Senator Josh Hawley the only no vote."  --  if this is so bad why did the republican senators (except insurrection boy Hawley) all voted for it?
 
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