With the rising number of assaults and crimes against Asian Americans, the Senate plans to vote on a bill that will finally address hate crimes. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that members of the Senate voted to advance the legislation and will be making the decision next week. Both Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are reportedly negotiating the number of amendments that will be considered for the legislation.
In his speech on the Senate floor, Schumer said that he expects to “figure out an appropriate number of reasonable, germane, non-gotcha amendments for the Senate to consider” with the Republican leader.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 92 to 6 to open debate on the bill. As a result of this, the federal government’s response would be expedited to address hate crimes committed against Asian Americans. At the same time, it would solidify guidance for state and local governments that are reporting on hate crimes.
Even though there were some concerns raised by Republicans, the Senate leadership was able to reach an agreement for GOP lawmakers to advance the bill in place of votes on specific amendments.
The concerns raised by other Senate members are being addressed by Schumer in a “very bipartisan way.” The leader expects that they will be able to wrap up the bill next week.
The call to pass the bill comes at a time of rising discrimination and violence against Asians due to the pandemic. Just last month, there were mass shootings reported in the Atlanta area which killed a total of eight people. Among the victims, six were Asian women. In addition to this, there has been a significant rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the past year alone.
Before meeting with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus on Thursday, President Joe Biden spoke to reporters and said he was “very heartened” with the Senate’s vote on Wednesday to advance the legislation.