A bill to fight anti-Asian hate crimes passed in a 94-1 vote in the Senate on Thursday.
PASSED: Today, the US Senate rejects anti-Asian hate.
This historic, bipartisan vote on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is a powerful message of solidarity to our AAPI community. Now, I urge the House to swiftly pass this legislation so President Biden can sign it into law. pic.twitter.com/gaoLgnwgO9
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) April 22, 2021
The COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act, only needed 60 votes and had large bipartisan support. The legislation was introduced in March by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) with Rep. Grace Meng (D-New York), according to NPR.
“Asian Americans have been beaten, slashed and spat on. Everybody in our country deserves to feel safe and that includes the Asian American community,” Meng tweeted.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo) was the only member to vote against the bill, according to NBC News.
Hawley expressed his “concern” about how the bill was too “open-ended,” reported CNN.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had urged Republican senators not to block the bill, which would establish new ways to report incidents online and conduct public outreach when needed, NextShark previously reported.
The bill will also assist in assigning a designated officer to speed up the review of hate crimes at the Justice Department, especially those reported during the pandemic.
The House, which has created a similar version of Hirono’s bill, and the Senate will have to come to an agreement on a new bill to present to President Joe Biden to sign.
Members of the Senate expressed their support for the passing of the bill on social media:
I’m extremely proud to have worked with my Senate colleagues to get the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act across the finish line. This critical legislation is an important step in protecting our AAPI friends, neighbors & community at home in Georgia & nationwide. #StopAsianHate
— Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (@SenatorWarnock) April 22, 2021
Racism and violence against Asian Americans has no place in our society.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 22, 2021
I proudly cast my vote for @MazieHirono and @RepGraceMeng’s COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. It’s an important bill to #StopAsianHate and a powerful message against bigotry and xenophobia. https://t.co/9XQKbaaus9
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 22, 2021
It’s up to all of us to denounce hate in our communities. It’s no secret that anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise—I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in passing the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to help #StopAsianHate.
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) April 22, 2021
We just passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. While this is just one step to #StopAsianHate, I’m glad to see members of both parties denounce the racist attacks we’ve seen against the AAPI community — now let’s get this passed in the House.
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) April 22, 2021
This bill will provide states with much-needed resources to respond to, investigate, and mitigate the growing number of horrific hate crimes against the AAPI community. Proud to have voted for its final passage in the Senate. #StopAsianHate https://t.co/zsvar8YjtW
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) April 22, 2021
Feature Images via @maziehirono