The Senate on Thursday handed a invoice to handle the rise in hate incidents and violence against Asian Americans throughout the coronavirus pandemic ― a uncommon present of bipartisanship on a problem that gained contemporary urgency after a collection of shootings at Atlanta-area spas final month.
The legislation, launched by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), would expedite a federal assessment of coronavirus-related hate crimes, develop knowledge assortment and public reporting of such incidents, and supply steerage on finest practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.
It handed 94-1 after Hirono accepted proposed modifications from Republican senators, together with Susan Collins of Maine and Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
The invoice would additionally present funding to coach regulation enforcement on investigating hate incidents, create a hate crimes hotline, and set up packages to rehabilitate perpetrators — all proposed in an modification by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).
Hirono, the primary Asian American lady elected to the Senate, blamed former President Donald Trump for fueling the rise in hate incidents towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by repeatedly referring to the COVID-19 virus as a “China virus” and the “kung flu.” Hirono stated she might relate to different Americans fearing for his or her security amid the uptick in hate crimes.
“Before, if I was walking around outside, I would have my earbuds on, listening to books on tape … I would never do that now,” Hirono informed reporters earlier this month.
There was initially some uncertainty about Republican assist for the invoice. Several GOP senators expressed considerations about its definition of hate crimes being “too broad,” saying that it might end in unintended penalties throughout court docket sentencing. Others believed the measure mandated an excessive amount of federal knowledge assortment on non-public residents.
Progressives had been watching carefully to see whether or not Hirono’s laws would change into the primary to fall to the filibuster below the brand new Democratic-controlled Senate. If Republicans did block it, advocates of eliminating the chamber’s long-standing two-thirds vote requirement on laws would have gained much more ammo to go nuclear and eradicate the filibuster. That consideration could have additionally crossed the minds of some GOP senators.
But to filibuster opponents, one invoice that passes with bipartisan assist doesn’t low cost the urgency to eradicate the filibuster given fierce GOP opposition to many different high Democratic priorities comparable to voting rights, local weather change, gun management and immigration.
“The fundamental reality remains the same: that unless Democrats eliminate the filibuster, they have no chance of passing some of their top priorities,” stated Eli Zupnick, a spokesperson for Fix Our Senate, a bunch devoted to ending the Senate filibuster. “It’s great that Sen. McConnell is allowing some bills to get done, but nobody should be under any illusions that this means the Senate is working well.”
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