When the Democrats sought a bipartisan deal to allow lawmakers to quickly pass laws to combat hate crimes against Americans from Asia, New York majority leader Senator Chuck Schumer urged Republicans to approve the bill, “To move forward with sense of urgency. “
The Senate voted 92-6 on Wednesday to further develop laws that would increase federal efforts to combat hate crimes against Americans from Asia and pave the way for the move to be passed, creating a new position in the Justice Department expedite the review to expedite hate crimes related to the coronavirus pandemic, expand public channels to report such crimes, and encourage the division to provide guidance on how to mitigate the use of racially discriminatory language in describing the pandemic.
Despite the unilateral procedural vote, the bill’s fate clouded when Republicans tabled at least 20 amendments to the bill – some of which the legislature’s main sponsor, Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, said were irrelevant to the legislation. Mr Schumer said Wednesday night that he was working with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, to negotiate a schedule that would include “no Gotcha or non-German changes”.
“It has to move forward with a sense of urgency,” said Mr Schumer. “The legislation will send a loud and clear message that violence against Asian Americans has no place in American society.”
The Democrats’ urge to get the laws passed quickly comes from the fact that attacks against Asian-American citizens, including many women or the elderly, have increased nearly 150 percent over the past year, experts said last month before a House panel testified.
The Republicans initially gave a lukewarm response to the bill, but ultimately decided they couldn’t filibust a hate crime measure. Most rallied after the Democrats announced they would add a bipartisan provision – proposed by Senators Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas – to set up state hate crime hotlines and law enforcement agencies training grants to grant their officers to identify hate crimes.
Six Republicans – Senators Tom Cotton from Arkansas, Ted Cruz from Texas, Josh Hawley from Missouri, Roger Marshall from Kansas, Rand Paul from Kentucky and Tommy Tuberville from Alabama – voted against advancing the bill on Wednesday.
Mr. Cotton said in a statement before voting that “the Senate should have the benefit of hearing from the Justice Department before acting blindly on the matter,” he noted that the Democrats had accelerated the review of the law before holding a hearing on it.
Also on Wednesday, the White House announced that Erika L. Moritsugu will serve as assistant president’s assistant and liaison with the Asia-American Pacific islander community. The role was created after two Asian-American Senate Democrats, Mrs. Hirono and Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, left the Biden administration for a lack of A.A.P.I. Representation at the highest level.