The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation against anti-Asian hate crimes amid increasing violence during the coronavirus pandemic.
The chamber approved the bill Thursday in a 94-1 vote, with Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri the lone member to oppose.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), would direct the Department of Justice to expedite the review of pandemic-related hate crimes, as well as direct the attorney general and the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on how to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the pandemic, NBC News reported.
The increase in violent incidents involving Asians is seemingly driven by anger over the ongoing pandemic, for which Asians have frequently been made the scapegoat. Former President Trump, in particular, repeatedly blamed China for the worldwide spread of the virus, which he derisively called “kung flu.”
“By passing this bill, the Senate makes it very clear that hate and discrimination against any group has no place in America. Bigotry against one is bigotry against all,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday in a Senate floor speech before the vote, NBC reported.