U.S. Senate Votes to Pass Asian American Hate Crimes Bill

Headline Roundup April 22nd, 2021

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 94-1 to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, aimed at combatting racism toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The bill would boost hate crime tracking by appointing a Justice Department official to review potential hate crime incidents, providing grants for regional law enforcement to set up reporting hotlines, and offering police training on how to handle hate crime response. Initially faced with the threat of a Republican filibuster, the bill ultimately passed with near-complete bipartisan support in the Senate after an agreement allowed for state and local government grants to help improve hate crime reporting; Republican Sen. Josh Hawley was the only senator to vote against the bill. The bill will now move onto the House for approval.

Coverage from left-rated tended to focus on the purported rise in COVID-19 related hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities; some left-rated outlets also focused on Hawley's vote against the bill. Right-rated outlets tended to focus on the details of the bill and on the adjustments made to the bill.

U.S. Senate Votes to Pass Asian American Hate Crimes Bill

From the Left
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The Senate — in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote on Thursday — sent Congress’s strongest message yet condemning anti-Asian hate crimes by passing a bill aimed at improving data collection.

The legislation, while somewhat narrow, intends to bolster hate crime tracking by designating a Justice Department official to specifically review potential hate crime incidents, providing grants for regional law enforcement agencies to set up reporting hotlines, and offering training to police on how to handle hate crime response.

It ultimately passed 94-1 with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) as the lone vote...

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From the Center
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Capping nearly two weeks of talks between Democrats and Republicans, the Senate approved legislation on Thursday to ramp up law enforcement efforts to better protect the Asian American and Pacific Islander community from hate crimes.

The move marks a rare moment of bipartisan unity needed to approve the Senate legislation despite a new political era marked by increasingly bitter party divisions.

The bill, which needed 60 votes for passage in the evenly divided Senate, was approved by a 94-1 vote. Only GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri voted no.

"The...

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From the Right
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Republican Sen. Josh Hawley the only senator to vote against it. It was authored by Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, and passed amid a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“By [passing this bill], we will send a powerful message of solidarity to the [Asian American and Pacific Islanders] community that the Senate will not be a bystander as anti-Asian violence surges in our country,” Hirono said on the Senate floor.

The bill was modified before its final passage after an agreement was reached between...

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