On Thursday, the Senate passed with a strong bipartisan majority a bill denouncing discrimination against Asian communities in the US. The bill also creates a new position at the Department of Justice to expedite reviews of potential COVID-related hate crimes.
The vote was 94-1, with lone opposition from Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng of New York and Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. It gained broad support after the tragedy in Atlanta of the shootings of six Asian women.
The bill will next be sent to the House, where it is expected to pass, and then to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Sen. Hirono said that the bill’s passage “sends a clear and unmistakable message of solidarity” to Asian communities.
“This long overdue bill sends two messages: to our Asian American friends, we will not tolerate bigotry against you, and to those perpetrating anti-Asian bigotry, we will pursue you to the fullest extent of the law,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in floor remarks shortly before the vote Thursday. “We cannot — we cannot allow the recent tide of bigotry, intolerance and prejudice against Asian Americans go unchecked.”
Sources: CNN 4/22/21; ABC 4/22/21