House Passes Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill
The House of Representatives has passed a Senate bill to address the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the Covid-19 pandemic. The legislation, which the Senate passed in a 94-1 vote last month, passed with a 364 to 62 vote.
The bill, which Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced in March alongside Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), directs the Department of Justice to expedite the review of Covid-related hate crimes that were reported to law enforcement agencies and help them establish ways to report such incidents online and perform public outreach.
The bill also directs the attorney general and the Department of Health and Human Services to issue best-practices guidance on “how to mitigate racially discriminatory language” when describing the pandemic’s origins and the subsequent global spread of the virus.
Ahead of the vote, House Democrats said the legislation would both address and help prevent the recent spate of attacks against Asian Americans. Meng, who represents a district in Queens with a large Asian-American population, said her community has faced “despicable and sickening acts of hate and violence” over the last year and a half.
COVID-19 Hate Crimes bill passes the House 364-62. Now heads to Biden for his final signaturehttps://t.co/XTh0sHAf7I
— Sarah D. Wire (@sarahdwire) May 18, 2021
“Those of Asian descent have been blamed and scapegoated for the outbreak of Covid-19, and as a result, Asian Americans have been beaten, slashed, spat on, and even set on fire and killed,” Meng said at a press conference, flanked by her colleagues. “The Asian American community is exhausted from being forced to endure this rise in bigotry and racist attacks.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at the event Tuesday that the measure will “strengthen our defenses to prevent reports and combat” violence against Asian Americans as well as build on actions taken by President Biden.
There are 2 million AAPI heroes fighting on the frontlines. The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will strengthen our defenses to prevent, report and combat anti-AAPI violence and will build on steps already taken by President Biden. #APAHM
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 18, 2021
The bill will now be sent to the White House, where President Biden is expected to sign it.