US Senate passes 'Hate Crimes Act' in overwhelming vote

Sen. Mazie Hirono D-Hawaii speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 13

Mazie Hirono which seeks to condemn and punish anti-Asian American hate crimes in the USA, specifically those stemming from what Democrats have labeled as racist COVID-19 characterizations.

More than just a statement against anti-Asian hate, the bill directs the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to issue new guidance on the rise in violence against Asians amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hirono's bill came forward following the shooting of eight people, including six Asian women, at several spas in the Atlanta area last month.

In a rare, if fleeting, moment of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, senators approved the bill 94-1. Police have seen a noted uptick in such crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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".

Illinois. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot who lost her legs during a 2004 attack in Iraq, said she had been asked what country she was from while wearing her US military uniform. It is "proof that when the Senate is given an opportunity to work, the Senate can work to solve important issues", he said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose wife Elaine Chao is Asian American, was among Republicans who got behind the legislation. The hate crimes legislation is the first byproduct of that agreement. Some said it need not be the last.

President Joe Biden has said he is eager to sign the bill into law.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where it's expected to pass with wide bipartisan support. "That doesn't mean we forgo our principles". "It means we try to work with our Republican colleagues wherever we can". The violence against Asian Americans became a national talking point after racist attacks against elderly Asian Americans proliferated the news earlier this year. More than 3,000 incidents have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based reporting center for such crimes, and its partner advocacy groups, since mid-March 2020.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would take and pass the Senate legislation next month.

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii worked with Republican Sen.

The bill, called the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and led by Democratic Sen.

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.

Republicans agreed to back the bill after the Senate also voted on and rejected a series of GOP amendments, including efforts to prevent discrimination against Asian Americans in college admissions and reporting about restrictions on religious exercise during the pandemic. Missouri GOP Senator Josh Hawley was the lone "no" vote. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), to provide federal funding to conduct broader studies about the number of hate crimes every year.

Democrats like Hirono hailed the bill as an incentive for the federal government to make "informed decisions" about biases against Asian Americans even when "people's hearts and minds" won't change.

"For more than a year, Asian Americans all across our nation have been screaming out for help", Meng said, and the Senate showed that "they heard our pleas".

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